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Nov 11, 2015

China-Taiwan summit two years in making, as leaders eye legacies

This weekend’s historic summit in Singapore between the presidents of China and Taiwan may have surprised many, but the sides first broached the subject about two years ago and the leaders had their legacies very much in mind.

For Chinese President Xi Jinping, the summit may not change the outcome of Taiwan’s presidential election in January which the island’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is widely expected to win, two sources with ties to the Chinese leadership said. Anti-China sentiment is rising in Taiwan.

Nov 11, 2015

Lack of trained staff means long hours for Afghan air force engineer

The lone Afghan flight engineer trained to operate C-130 transport planes regularly works 14 hour days when fighting flares, ferrying reinforcements and ammunition to troops battling an intensifying Taliban insurgency.

When he is able to return to his house in Kabul, he says his family can see the strain of fatigue on his face.

Nov 11, 2015

Afghan special forces in firing line as fighting spreads

As Afghan soldiers and police struggle to contain an escalating insurgency that has targeted several cities in recent weeks, the country’s special forces are being tested as never before.

Trained in counter-insurgency tactics at the elite School of Excellence near Kabul, these soldiers led the battle to retake Kunduz, after regular forces fled their posts last month to cede the northern city to militants they easily outnumbered.

Nov 11, 2015

Modi to open 70-year-old secret files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India’s most enduring mysteries surrounding the independence struggle, the latest salvo in a growing history war that could undermine the opposition Congress party.

The fate of Subhas Chandra Bose, leader of the Indian National Army which collaborated with the Japanese and Germans against the British in World War Two, has remained a riddle for seven decades.

Nov 11, 2015

INSIGHT-Afghan medical NGOs faced growing danger long before MSF hospital tragedy

KABUL, Oct 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. air strike in Afghanistan that killed at least 22 patients and staff at a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital wasn’t the first time the escalating war has affected an aid-run medical facility. There have even been instances since.

Foreign aid workers and Afghan colleagues shaken by the weekend tragedy in Kunduz, one of the worst incidents of its kind in the 14-year war, say increased violence around the country makes it harder to provide basic services in a country where NGOs help provide the vast majority of healthcare.

Nov 11, 2015

INSIGHT-After Kunduz rout, Afghan army and police blame each other

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Hungry and exhausted after being routed by Taliban fighters in the northern city of Kunduz, Afghanistan’s army and police force are blaming each other for the shambolic surrender of the provincial capital.

The lack of coordination between the key pillars of Afghan security forces contributed to a humiliating loss, which, though largely reversed three days later, leaves the government looking more vulnerable than at any time during the 14-year insurgency.

Nov 11, 2015

Using fawning foreign students, China tries to polish its image

Faced with a patchy image abroad, China is adopting an unusual tactic in its propaganda campaign: using bright-eyed foreign students to burnish its reputation.

The problem is that most people appear not to buy it.

A new video, released on Tuesday on the YouTube and Facebook accounts of People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, has been ridiculed on the Internet for the interviewees’ fawning praise of President Xi Jinping.

Nov 11, 2015

Four funerals and a wedding: China’s Xi mends political bridges

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the funeral earlier this year of a one-time propaganda minister was a surprise; Deng Liqun, who died aged 99, was never a top-ranked official and had been a political enemy of Xi’s father.

Xi’s presence, sources said, was in fact part of a nascent effort to heal wounds across China’s ideological divide after his unrelenting crackdown on corruption alienated senior officials from the ruling Communist Party, government and military.

Nov 11, 2015

Insight – Blatter’s corroded legacy on South Asian football fields

There are no recognisable football fields, no players, and just a rusting goalpost at Pakistan’s Hawksbay training centre, built with a $500,000 FIFA grant on a windswept plot by the Arabian Sea near Karachi, and officially completed two years ago.

In Nepal, goats graze on a rutted playing field near decrepit facilities at the Dharan soccer academy built with FIFA cash in the Himalayan foothills. The sole member of staff, a watchman, says he hasn’t been paid for a year.

Nov 11, 2015

Exclusive – China’s AIIB to offer loans with fewer strings attached – sources

China‘s new international development bank will offer loans with fewer strings attached than the World Bank, sources said, as Beijing seeks to change the unwritten rules of global development finance.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will require projects to be legally transparent and protect social and environmental interests, but will not ask borrowers to privatise or deregulate businesses for loans, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

    • About Mike

      "I commission, edit and write major breaking news and initiative stories from across Asia, concentrating on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. My previous postings include Moscow, Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I have covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, arts and entertainment, turmoil in Egypt, the Crimea referendum and major sporting events around the world."
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