Hope this G20 meeting in Srinagar promotes tourism: J-K residents on day-3

International Desk
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he last day events of the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting have begun in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The foreign delegates attended the meetings and sessions organized in the last two days with a special focus on tourism and other developments between the G20 countries.

Talking about the G20 meeting in Srinagar, a resident of Ganderbal said, “We hope this will promote tourism…We also hope that such programs are held frequently and that people come here often…Foreign tourists will come and this will end unemployment here…Now, the entire country knows that Kashmiris are good hosts and we welcomed the delegates open-heartedly…”

Kashmiris welcomed the G20 meetings which will boost the tourism and business sector in Kashmir. The delegates are scheduled to visit the various famous places in Srinagar.

On Tuesday, J-K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, Union Ministers G Kishan Reddy, Dr Jitendra Singh, and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant participated in the session.

Addressing the meeting, Union Minister Reddy said, “Ministry of Tourism and Government of India is committed to working with all the G20 member countries and all the International organisations to promote sustainable practices that benefit the people and the planet.”

Meanwhile, Singh said that Srinagar has a wide range of craftsmanship and has the highest railway bridge in the world. India is ready to share global responsibility as far as the obligation towards the economy, environment, and society is concerned.

“Youth are highly well-informed and they can see the enormous opportunities offered by the PM of India. The common man of Srinagar wants to be a part of the global journey led by PM Modi,” he added.

At the session, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that Jammu and Kashmir have always been the center of knowledge, wisdom, and breathtaking landscape. For 30 years this land of peacefulness had to suffer from state-sponsored terrorism by the neighbouring country.

“However, PM Modi brought development schemes that empowered the state. J-K is now open to a new era that is open to growth, peace, and development. Today J-K stands as one of the developed states in the country,” he added.

China's monitoring tactics of Uyghurs are disturbing: Report

International Desk, Barta24.com
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Amid inadequate media coverage of the ongoing persecution of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, one could say that such reports are episodic. Writing in the Toronto Star Michael Levitt says that world attention on the plight of the Uyghur has reduced. He also states that Uyghur persecution in China is one of the "most egregious and appalling" crimes against humanity, Greek City Times reported. However, according to the latest Al Jazeera report by Erin Hale published on May 4, 2023, which cites a Human Rights Watch (HRW) forensic investigation reveals that Chinese authorities have monitored the phones of the ethnic minority Uyghur for the presence of 50,000 known multimedia files that were used to flag what China views as extremism, with the mere possession of the Quran reason enough to trigger a police interrogation.

Greek City Times is a leading Greek lifestyle site, reporting and updating about Greek culture. If mere possession of the Quran can lead to a police interrogation, one can well imagine what else could happen for other related offences, Greek City Times reported.

The HRW Search found more than 1,000 unique files on about 1,400 Urumqi residents' phones that matched those on the master list of the police. Analysis of these files has revealed that 57 per cent appeared to be common Islamic religious materials, including readings of every surah (chapter) of the Quran. Chinese security services have a long list of "violent and terrorist" content which includes violent audio, video and images produced by armed groups such as ISIS, Greek City Times reported.

It also includes material from organisations that promote the identity or self-determination of Uyghur, including the separatist East Turkestan Independence Movement, World Uyghur Congress, and the United States government-funded news outlet Radio Free Asia. The files also include information about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, which is heavily censored in China.

Al Jazeera reports that the master list analysed by HRW is part of a wider 52GB trove of documents from a Xinjiang police database that was leaked to the Intercept, a US-based media outlet in 2019, but not made public until now. In recent years, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has increased its repression of the Uyghur which includes state-imposed restrictions on religious freedom, language rights, cultural expression, and freedom of movement.

Since 2017, the Chinese government has detained more than a million Uyghur in what it calls "re-education camps" and subjected those not detained to extensive surveillance, religious restrictions, forced labour and involuntary sterilization, Greek City Times reported. Researchers in the West have described it as "the largest incarceration of a minority group since the holocaust".

Last year, a UN Human Rights office report revealed "patterns of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" in the camps. Most people detained in the camps were never charged and had no legal avenue to challenge their detentions. Often many are denounced by the CPC as extremists or terrorists for simply practising their religion. Intimidation of Uyghur abroad by China is also commonplace, including efforts to detain and deport them back to China. It has also pressurised other governments to repatriate those who have fled China.

Notably, China continues to use its vast influence to manipulate UN processes and to ensure that its allies avoid public acknowledgement of the persecution of the Uyghur. Following the release of the OHCHR report, the UN Human Rights Council voted down a motion in October 2022 by the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to hold a debate on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, marking only the second time in sixteen years that the council rejected a motion, Greek City Times reported.

The rejection was condemned by Uyghur activist groups, many of whom helped lead advocacy efforts around the resolution and called it a major setback for accountability efforts and the credibility of the Human Rights Council. That the repression of the Uyghur continues in one way or the other is therefore worrisome. The list of content being monitored by the CPC according to HRW, also includes non-political material such as the Chinese travel show filmed in Syria called "On the Road", readings from the Quran and Islamic songs.

While the police officially monitor Uyghur phones for "extremist" material, HRW says that in many cases, ethnic Muslims are flagged as supporters of violent extremism for simply practising Islam. Chinese police in Urumqi also require residents to download an app called JingwangWeishi. This app gives Chinese authorities the ability to monitor the contents of their mobile phones. Visitors to Xinjiang are also required to download a similar app called Fengcai. The HRW forensic investigation shows that only nine per cent of the flagged files contained violent content and 4 per cent contained content calling for violence, Greek City Times reported.

An investigation by HRW into the metadata of this master list found that during nine months from 2017 to 2018, police conducted nearly 11 million searches of a total of 1.2 million mobile phones in Xinjiang's capital city Urumqi. Xinjiang's automated police mass surveillance systems enabled this phone search. Similarly, a leaked list of 2,000 detainees at a re-education facility in Aksu prefecture in 2018 showed that 10 per cent had been detained for downloading "violent and terrorist" multimedia or having a connection to someone who downloaded it, Greek City Times reported.

Uyghur Muslims are thus subject to heavy surveillance as part of the CPC's efforts to eliminate cultural, linguistic, and religious differences from the country's majority Han culture. Michael Levitt correctly sums up the need to stand up for the Uyghur now. He argues that the post-Holocaust vow of "Never Again" should be updated to "Never Again Now.", Greek City Times reported.

That means the world must use all means at its disposal to step up pressure against China to end its genocidal persecution of the Uyghurs. (ANI)



US, Chinese commerce chiefs raise complaints on trade, investment, export policies

International Desk, Barta24.com
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US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao traded barbs on trade, investment and export policies in talks on Thursday (May 25) described by Raimondo's office as "candid and substantive".

Their meeting in Washington was the first US-China cabinet-level exchange in months, after a string of trade and national security irritants derailed plans for re-engagement between the world's two largest economies.

"The two had candid and substantive discussions on issues relating to the US-China commercial relationship, including the overall environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas for potential cooperation," the Commerce Department said in a statement.

"Secretary Raimondo also raised concerns about the recent spate of PRC (People's Republic of China) actions taken against US companies operating in the PRC," the statement added.

Wang raised key concerns about US policies toward China, including on semiconductors, export controls and reviews of foreign investments, a Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said.

Both sides agreed to establish and maintain open communication channels, with Raimondo's office saying that would help "responsibly manage the relationship".

China's Commerce Ministry said the communications would allow exchanges on specific economic trade concerns and cooperation matters.

Wang is also expected to meet with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the sidelines of an APEC trade ministers meeting in Detroit that wraps up on Friday.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged more frequent communications at a G20 summit in Indonesia last November to avoid US-China tensions from spilling into a new Cold War.

But those plans suffered several setbacks, starting with the downing of a Chinese spy balloon in US coastal waters.

These irritants continued through last Sunday, when Group of Seven (G7) leaders pledged to resist China's "economic coercion" and Beijing responded by declaring US memory chip maker Micron Technology a national security risk, banning its sales to key domestic industries.

The ban followed a series of raids on American consultancies in China.

On Monday, Wang met representatives of American firms in Shanghai, including Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dow, Merck, and Honeywell, according to the Ministry of Commerce, telling them that "China will continue to welcome US-funded enterprises to develop in China and achieve win-win results".

China has complained about the growing number of US export restrictions on advanced semiconductors and other high technology goods that could have military applications and security reviews that discourage Chinese investment in the United States.

Wang's trip to the US comes after G7 leaders met in Hiroshima, at which US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders took aim at China over "economic coercion" and said they would "de-risk" without "decoupling" from the world's second-largest economy in everything from chips to minerals.

Raimondo, Blinken, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have all expressed interest in visiting China.


US warns China could hack infrastructure, including pipelines, rail systems

International Desk, Barta24.com
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The US State Department warned on Thursday (May 25) that China was capable of launching cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines and rail systems, after researchers discovered a Chinese hacking group had been spying on such networks.

A multi-nation alert issued on Wednesday revealed the Chinese cyberespionage campaign had been aimed at military and government targets in the United States.

The Chinese government has rejected assertions that its spies are going after Western targets, calling the warning issued by the United States and its allies a "collective disinformation campaign".

US officials said they were still in the process of getting their arms around the threat.

"We’ve had at least one location that we didn’t know about since the hunt guide was released come forward with data and information," Rob Joyce, the US National Security Agency's (NSA) cybersecurity director, told Reuters. The agency disclosed technical details earlier to help critical service providers detect the spying.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) separately said it was working to understand "the breadth of potential intrusions and associated impacts".

That would help it "provide assistance where needed, and more effectively understand the tactics undertaken by this adversary", CISA's executive assistant director, Eric Goldstein, told Reuters.

Part of the challenge in defending against this espionage work is that it's more covert than regular spy operations, according to researchers and officials.

"In these cases the adversary is often using legitimate credentials and legitimate network administration tools to gain access to execute their objectives on a target network," Goldstein said. "Many traditional methods of detection, such as antivirus, will not find these intrusions."

Microsoft analysts who identified the campaign, which they dubbed Volt Typhoon, said it "could disrupt critical communications infrastructure between the United States and Asia region during future crises" - a nod to escalating US-China tensions over Taiwan and other issues.

"The US intelligence community assesses that China almost certainly is capable of launching cyberattacks that could disrupt critical infrastructure services within the United States, including against oil and gas pipelines and rail systems," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing.

"It's vital for government and network defenders in the public to stay vigilant."

US agencies have been pushing for improved cybersecurity practices in its majority-privately held critical infrastructure industry, after the 2021 hack of the key Colonial Pipeline disrupted nearly half of the US East Coast’s fuel supply.

Intelligence agencies in the United States, Britain and their close allies issued an alert on Wednesday to warn about Volt Typhoon. Microsoft said the group had targeted critical infrastructure organisations in the US Pacific territory of Guam, and it was using the security firm Fortinet's FortiGuard devices to break into target's networks.

Researcher Marc Burnard, whose organisation Secureworks has dealt with several intrusions tied to Volt Typhoon, said Secureworks had seen no evidence of destructive activity by Volt Typhoon, but that its hackers were focused on stealing information that would "shed light on US military activities".

NSA's Joyce said there was no doubt Volt Typhoon was putting itself in position to carry out disruptive attacks.

"It’s clear that some of the entities on here are of no intelligence value," he told Reuters of the critical infrastructure sites identified by the government.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters that the alerts issued by the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were intended to promote their intelligence alliance - known as the Five Eyes - and it was Washington that was guilty of hacking.

"The United States is the empire of hacking," Mao said.

Source: Reuters



Rajiv Gandhi University secured 16th Rank amongst the Central University across the nation

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The Indian Institutional Ranking Framework ( IIRF ) University Ranking 2023 was released on 25th May 2023, wherein the Rajiv Gandhi University secured 16th Rank amongst the Central University (Overall) across the nation. The ranking is based on 7 performance indicators – Academic Excellence, Research, Placement Performance, Corporate Interface, Placement Strategies and Support, Teaching Learning Resources & Pedagogy and Future Orientation. RGU deserves accolade for the spectacular achievement despite lot of bottlenecks in terms of infrastructure, connectivity, etc.

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has topped the list. Reflecting the growth of the higher education sector in the NER, six north-eastern universities have made it to the top 20 central universities (overall) list. Other than RGU, it included Mizoram University (Aizawl), Tezpur University (Sonitpur, Assam), North-Eastern Hill University (Shillong, Meghalaya), Sikkim University (Gangtok) and Assam University (Silchar).

The Indian Institutional Ranking Framework (IIRF) ranks more than 1,000 institutions (300+ Universities, 350 Engineering colleges, 150+ B-Schools, 50 Law colleges, 50 Design schools, 50 Architecture colleges and 100+ Undergraduate colleges for BBA & BCA) across the country. IIRF is presented and published by Education Post since 2012.

FEDERATION FOR WORLD ACADEMICS (FWA) guides the methodology and industrial feedback plays the role of Mentor for IIRF Centre for Institutional Research (ICIR) in India. The IIRF ranking is based on concrete analysis by the experts and stands as the most diverse and authentic ranking in India accepted by corporate world.

The Rajiv Gandhi University administration take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all the faculty members, administrative staff, students, alumni and all the stakeholders who have made this achievement possible. Prof. Saket Kushwaha, Vice Chancellor, RGU, shared ‘this is a small step towards the goals of excellence that the university has set for itself and such recognition reaffirms that the university is going in the right direction.’ He further informed that RGU is also all set to get the 3rd cycle of accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).