VIF Information Alerts - 30th May 2018
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Australia launches spy agency review amid China concerns
Published: The Business Times
30 May 2018

Australian spy agencies will undergo their largest review in decades, officials announced Wednesday, as Canberra seeks to strengthen intelligence powers amid heightened concerns about terrorism and foreign political interference. A former head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) will spearhead the wide-ranging enquiry, which will look at how national and domestic intelligence agencies share information, their resources and the laws that underpin their work. Click here to read...

Russia and Israel 'reach a deal' with Assad on Syrian territory
Published: The Sunday Morning Herald
30 May 2018

Russia and Israel have reportedly reached a deal that would allow Syrian forces to take rebel territory in southern Syria, as long as Iranian troops do not participate in the offensive and stay 24 kilometres back from Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In return, Israel will not stand in the way of any Syrian regime offensive on the city of Deraa and other territory along the Israeli and Jordanian border. Click here to read...

Japan’s Plans to Build a “Free and Open” Indian Ocean
Published: The Maritime Executive
29 May 2018

While many eyes are on China’s port investments in the Indian Ocean, Japan has also been busy. The scale of its infrastructure investments in the region rivals, and sometimes exceeds, that of China. But Japan argues that its growing presence in the Indian Ocean is qualitatively different, focused on transparency, economic sustainability, and a rules-based order that should become part of regional norms. Click here to read...

China mum on Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan order, says CPEC will not affect its stand on Kashmir issue
Published: The Economic Times
29 May 2018

China today refrained from making any direct comment on Pakistan's latest move on exercising administrative authority on Gilgit-Baltistan, but said the CPEC which traverses through the disputed region, will not affect its stand that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Cabinet on May 21 approved Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 which was also endorsed by the region's assembly. The order is being seen as Pakistan's efforts towards incorporating the disputed region as its fifth province. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-mum-on-pakistans-gilgit-baltistan-order-says-cpec-will-not-affect-its-stand-on-kashmir-issue/articleshow/64367769.cms " target"_blank">Click here to read...

India, China agree to start talks on bilateral social security agreement
Published: The Economic Times
29 May 2018

India and China have agreed to start formal negotiations on a bilateral social security agreement aimed at protecting Indian professionals and skilled workers abroad. The understanding was reached between the two sides during the two-day talks held in Beijing on May 28-29, a press release from Indian Embassy here said. Click here to read...

Drought threatens millions of Afghans with hunger: U.N.
Published: Reuters
29 May 2018

Millions of Afghans face hunger after a drought decimated crops in the war-ravaged country, U.N. officials said on Tuesday, calling for an extra $115 million to help families buy food. Two thirds of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces have been hit by a lack of rain or snowfall since late last year, said a bulletin from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Click here to read...

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