Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Afghan Journal:

When India-Pakistan wargames become real

(Pakistani army tanks in exercises in Bhawalpur sector. Pic by Christopher Allbritton)

(Pakistani army tanks in exercises in Bhawalpur sector. Pic by Christopher Allbritton)

Pakistan is conducting its biggest military exercises in 21 years and at the weekend thousands of troops backed by fighter jets took part in a mock battle to repel a simulated Indian military advance and inflict heavy casualties. The manoeuvres were designed to test a riposte to India's Cold Start doctrine of a rapid and deep thrust into Pakistan in a simulated environment, but you are never far from real action on the heavily militarised border between the two countries.

On Sunday, as the mock battle unfolded in the deserts of eastern Pakistan, the two armies were engaged in a real exchange of fire a few hundred miles away, along the border in Punjab. Both sides reported the firing in the Shakargarh sector and as is the norm blamed the other for starting it. It didn't last long and by the standards of Indo-Pak artillery duels it was a blip. But what is interesting is it took place along a settled section of the border as distinct from cross-border firing along the Line of Control separating the two armies in disputed Kashmir.  Shooting across the international border has been rare, although there have been incidents in January this year and in July and September in 2009.

NightWatch intelligence, which closely tracks developments across South Asia, says the Shakargarh sector carries  the weight of history and perhaps there is  a message behind the shooting. This is the site of a decisive battle during the 1971 India-Pakistan War in which Indian rocket launcher units destroyed Pakistani army armoured brigades ending hostilities in that sector. Firing in the location is always a reminder of December 1971. So the question is were the Indians trying to remind the Pakistanis about that battle nearly four decades ago even as Pakistan carried out the wargames named Azm-e-Nau 3 or New Resolve 3?

Volcano spews up more criticism of EU

Photo
- Ash and steam rise from an erupting volcano near Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

Ash and steam rise from an erupting volcano near Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

The Icelandic volcano that has caused havoc with European travel has also spewed up more criticism of the European Union.

A travel-affected European Parliament session on Tuesday turned into a forum for bashing the EU and other European authorities over the response to the crisis.

Over the volcano

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volcano

By Patrick Lannin

The captain was an astute man.

Soon after we had boarded the flight from Stockholm to Reykjavik, one of the few commercial flights operating on Monday in Europe, he voiced the issue we were all thinking about: the ash cloud from Iceland.

“You are probably wondering about the ash cloud from the volcano (he was right there). We will be flying upwind from it so we will be clear of the ash. But you should have a good view of it as we approach Reykjavik,” he said over the inflight announcement system.

from The Great Debate UK:

Impact of the volcano disruption on the airlines

Joris Melkert

- Joris Melkert, MSc BBA, is assistant professor in aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Despite the announcement that air space could begin to re-open in Northern Europe, the Icelandic volcano eruption could prove to be a major turning point for the global airline industry with short- to medium-term questions already being asked by some about its future financial viability.

from UK News:

Ash-stranded 2,000 kilometres from home – Tuesday update

* 1600 euros the quoted fare for taxi from Barcelona to Perpignan

* Train from Perpignan cancelled, but we blag our way on to Paris-bound service

* Chaos in Calais

Original post: “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”

That quote from "Withnail and I" has been rattling around my brain for the last few days as I’ve looked for a way to complete the 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) or so from the small town I’ve been staying in south of Valencia, Spain, and my home in London.

I’ve spent most of the last 72 hours on the internet, searching in vain for reasonably priced car hire, bus, train and ferry tickets.

I can prove that avoiding the ash cloud is possible

Photo
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How do you get from Helsinki to Milan when the whole of the airspace in northern Europe is closed?

Well, I did it and what’s more – most of the journey was done by plane.

from Afghan Journal:

Bombing your own people: the use of air power in South Asia

(U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt jets, also known as the Warthog. File photo)

(U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt jets, also known as the Warthog. File photo)

Pakistani army chief of staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani offered a rare apology at the weekend for a deadly air strike in the Khyber region in the northwest  in which residents and local officials say at least 63 civilians were killed.

Tragically for the Pakistani military, most of the victims were members of a tribe that had stood up against the Taliban. Some of them were members of the army. Indeed as Dawn reported the first bomb was dropped on the house of a serving army officer, followed by another more devastating strike just when people rushed to the scene. Such actions defy description and an explanation is in order from those who ordered the assault, the newspaper said in an angry editorial.

from The Great Debate UK:

Why the Icelandic volcano could herald even more disruption

Andy_Hooper- Dr Andrew Hooper is an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology and is an expert on monitoring deformation of Icelandic volcanoes. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The unprecedented no-fly zone currently in force across much of Europe has already caused the greatest chaos to air travel since the Second World War.  Thousands of flights have been cancelled or postponed with millions of travel plans affected.

The day Katyn took on another meaning

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KATYN

By Lidia Kelly

It was getting cold in Katyn. It was after 1030 a.m. on Saturday and we had been in the forest, where modest flat graveyards majestically meander amidst erect birch and pine trees, for two hours. There was a group of us, Polish journalists, standing among the 700-strong crowd that gathered to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the extermination of thousands of Polish officers by Stalin’s NKWD secret police.

We were waiting for the Polish president to arrive.

“There was some sun this morning,” I said to a friend, a Polish Polsat TV correspondent, as we looked at the murky foggy sky. We worried it might rain and we had no umbrellas.

from Afghan Journal:

Karzai, the West and the diplomatic marriage from hell

karzai and O

One of my Kabul press corps colleagues once described covering President Hamid Karzai’s government and the Western diplomats who are supposed to be supporting it as a lot like being friends with a couple while they go through a savage divorce. We reporters hop back and forth, from cocktail party to quiet lunch to private briefing, listening to charming Afghans and Westerners -– many of whom we personally like very much -- say outrageously nasty things about each other. Usually, the invective is whispered “off the record” by both sides, so you, dear reader, miss out on the opportunity to learn just how dysfunctional one of the world’s most important diplomatic relationships has become.

Over the past few weeks, the secret got out. Karzai -- in a speech that was described as an outburst but which palace insiders say was carefully planned -- said in public what his allies have been muttering in private for months: that Western diplomats orchestrated the notorious election debacle last year that saw a third of his votes thrown out for fraud. The White House and State Department were apoplectic: “disturbing”, “untrue”, “preposterous” they called it. Peter Galbraith, the U.S. diplomat who was the number two U.N. official in Kabul during last year’s election, went on TV and said he thought Karzai might be crazy or on drugs. Karzai’s camp’s response: Who’s being preposterous now?

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