Kashmir: A priority for British Asians? – BBC News

Kashmir: A priority for British Asians? – BBC News

Image copyright Reuters Among the thousands of people gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London on Thursday, a woman stood with tears in her eyes as she joined in the chants: “What do we want? Freedom.”
Part of the city was brought to a standstill as crowds of anti-Indian government demonstrators flooded the road, protesting against the country’s decision to place part of Kashmir under lockdown.
Police had to keep them apart from a separate group who had gathered to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
But for the protesters – passing around black strips of cloth which they tied to their arms and waving photographs from Kashmir – it was a “black day”.
The protest came as Indian PM Narendra Modi said his decision to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its special status, which gave it significant autonomy from the rest of India, would restore the region to its “past glory”.
But how much of a priority is the issue for British South Asians?
Image caption Razaq Raj, from Leeds Beckett University, was at the protest in central London Riz Ali, 34, travelled for about three hours from Peterborough to be at the protest. He calls what is happening in Kashmir, the birthplace of his grandparents, “disgusting”.
“It’s another version of what Hitler did,” he says.
However, the tensions don’t affect his everyday social life, or relations with British Asians of Indian descent. “We’re Muslim and our religion teaches us to show peace,” he says.
Razaq Raj, a lecturer from Leeds, whose parents are from the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, says the political crisis is not divisive in his daily life – but is adamant that he will not buy Indian products.
“We are all Asian, our heritage is Asian,” he says. “Indians are as good as anybody to me. It’s not the Indian people, it’s the Indian government.”
‘They’ve got other concerns’ But away from the protests, South Asian activists in the charity sector tell BBC News that combating social injustices unite communities regardless of their faith or ethnicity, and suggest that younger generations are more likely to be divided over tensions between India and Pakistan.
Image copyright Supplied Image caption Neelam Heera says the women she works with have other priorities Neelam Heera, 30, from Huddersfield, is of Indian Sikh descent. She says her family’s ethnicity never comes up in conversation – except on social media “where people find it easy to argue with each other”.
She founded Cysters, a charity that combats misconceptions around reproductive health, and works extensively with women from a range of South Asian communities.
“These health conditions and medical conditions don’t discriminate, so why should we?” she asks.
She says that tensions between Pakistan and India have never been raised in the meetings or online communities.
“For these women there are far bigger things to think about. They’re living in chronic pain, so dealing with Kashmir, and which side you’re on, isn’t something that is going to come across [their minds]. It’s not their priority, they’ve got other concerns,” she adds.
‘Really inclusive’ Like Heera, Khakan Qureshi, an LGBT activist from Birmingham, says common goals unite people from all faiths and nationalities.
Mr Qureshi, 49, also works with people from a broad range of backgrounds as part of BirminghamAsianLGBT, a voluntary-led organisation for LGBT South Asians in the UK.
Image copyright Supplied Image caption Khakan Qureshi “Everybody tries to be really inclusive of one another, that’s what makes us bond together and connect. If I connect with somebody I don’t really consider their faith or religion, it’s their personality,” he says.
But he is concerned that is not always the case for younger generations.
“Now people are trying to be much more specific when it comes to identity, when it comes to identity politics.” he says.
“Myself and all my peers we’re trying to support commonality, in that we’re looking at building bridges, friendships, regardless of whether we identify as Pakistani, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Indian.
“I feel that the younger generation are looking at identity and are wanting to be much more separated – in some cases, not always.”
‘More divided’ Pragna Patel founded Southall Sisters, a secular organisation made up of black and minority women which challenges gender-based violence. She says she has fostered an ethos that aims to unite people against inequality.
“But outside of our centre, of course the currents are swimming against us,” she says.
“People are divided more and more, it’s harder to forge solidarity among South Asians, let alone among all minority groups. That is because religion has become too politicised as an identity.”
She says younger people are more likely to “think of themselves in opposition to others” because they have no memory of Partition – in which up to 1 million people died and millions more were displaced when British-ruled India became the two new nations of India and Pakistan in 1947 – and have grown up amid increasingly polarised politics.
What is going on in Kashmir? Kashmir was plunged into an unprecedented lockdown this month, following the revocation of Article 370, the constitutional provision which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special dispensation to make its own laws on everything apart from matters of foreign affairs, defence and communications.
Telecommunications were cut off and local leaders were detained as tens of thousands of troops were deployed to patrol the streets.
The UN said the restrictions are deeply concerning and “will exacerbate the human rights situation”.
Last week the BBC witnessed police opening fire and using tear gas to disperse thousands of people who took to the streets to protest. The Indian government denied the protest took place.
The Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, but they each control only parts of it.
Why is Kashmir controversial? Kashmir: a timeline There is a long-running separatist insurgency on the Indian side, which has led to thousands of deaths over three decades. India accuses Pakistan of supporting insurgents but its neighbour denies this, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris who want self-determination.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Young Kashmiris on India’s decision: “We’ve been pushed back into medieval times” Mr Modi defended his highly controversial decision to remove the special status accorded to Kashmir, calling it a “new era” for the Indian-administered part of the region, while large numbers of Indians celebrated the move.
Viewpoint: Why Modi’s Kashmir move is widely supported in India Viewpoint: Has India pushed Kashmir to a point of no return?

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Stocks advance to close a chaotic week of trading – Business Insider

Posted by Editor – Stock Markets News | Aug 16, 2019 | Stock Market News | 0 |
Associated Press
Stocks climbed on Friday after a choppy week of trading amid a bond-market rally and hopes of new economic stimulus across Europe. German news-magazine Der Spiegel reported Germany plans to engage in deficit spending should the country fall into a recession, while an official from the European Central Bank recently said monetary stimulus in the region would exceed expectations. Bonds yields rebounded from a buying spree on Thursday, with the yield on 30-year Treasuries bouncing back after falling below 2% for the first time. Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.
Stocks rose on Friday after a turbulent week of trading as the potential of new economic stimulus across Europe slowed a torrid bond-market rally.
The yield on 30-year Treasurys recovered from

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It’s official: July was hottest month on record – NBC News

Environment It’s official: July was hottest month on record Nine of the 10 hottest Julys on record have occurred since 2005. The last five have been the five hottest Julys ever. People cool off at the Unisphere fountain at Flushing Meadow Corona Park in Queens during a heatwave on July 21, 2019. Johannes Eisele / AFP – Getty Images file Get the Mach newsletter. Aug. 15, 2019, 3:16 PM UTC / Updated Aug. 15, 2019, 3:45 PM UTC ByElisha Fieldstadt It wasn’t your imagination. July was in fact the hottest month ever. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that July was the hottest month on record, with global temperatures averaging 62.13 degrees, which is 1.71 degrees above the 20th century average. This July bested July 2016 for the hottest month on record by .05 degrees. Records date to 1880. The areas that had the most notable departures from their normal July temperatures were Alaska , central Europe, northern and southwestern parts of Asia, and parts of Africa and Australia. JUST IN: July 2019 now ranks #1 as the warmest month on record, according to the monthly Global Climate Report from @NOAANCEIclimate https://t.co/gzv7jcCDDX #StateOfClimate pic.twitter.com/aNSyYtAsRa — NOAA (@NOAA) August 15, 2019 The record-warmth shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows, according to NOAA. Nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005, and the last five have been the hottest Julys ever. Last month, the NOAA said that June was the hottest June on record, with average temperatures surpassing those of June 2016. This July was the 415th consecutive month with above-average global temperatures, according to NOAA. Summer 2019 has been toasty worldwide. Just after that, western Europe experienced a heat wave that also pushed temps above 100 , breaking numerous national records. This year is so far tied with 2017 as the second-hottest year to date on record. The hottest full year on record was 2016. Scientists predict 2019 will definitely make the top-five hottest years, and will most likely end up the second hottest year on record.

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Strength of British military falls for ninth year – BBC News

Strength of British military falls for ninth year 16 August 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images The size of Britain’s armed forces has fallen for the ninth consecutive year, new Ministry of Defence figures show.
The Army, the RAF and the Royal Navy have all seen a decline in the number of fully-trained personnel – with the Army experiencing the biggest fall.
Labour said the government was “running down” the UK military – calling it a “crisis” in recruitment and retention.
The Ministry of Defence said the armed forces continued to meet all their operational requirements.
The latest figures showed the Army was more than 7,000 troops short of the government’s target of 82,000.
In July there were 74,440 full-time and fully-trained troops, down from 76,880 last year. Army jobs website delivered 52 months late
There were smaller declines for the RAF and navy but they also failed to meet their target strength.
The RAF total stood at 29,930 of the required 31,840, while the Royal Navy and Royal Marines dropped to 29,090 of the required 30,600.
The MoD said it has been working hard to improve recruitment, adding that applications to join the Army were at a five-year high.
The Army raised eyebrows with its recruitment campaign at the start of the year, which used stereotypical images of millennials, including “snowflake”, and “selfie addicts”, on its posters. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Army recruiting ‘snowflakes’: What do people think?
The latest data showed 13,520 people had joined the regular armed forces in the last 12 months, an increase of 1,593 compared to the previous year.
However, 14,880 people also left – up from 14,860 in 2018.
Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said the government was running down the armed forces “year after year” and the numbers were “well below their own targets”.
She said: “Ministers are either in complete denial about this crisis in recruitment and retention, or they are actively in favour of cutting the armed forces to these historically low levels.”
MPs have repeatedly raised concerns over the use of private firm Capita in recruitment and wider efforts to retain personnel.
Capita was awarded the £495m contract for Army recruitment in 2012 – but has failed to hit soldier recruitment targets every year since.
In December last year, a National Audit Office report found that the Army’s £113m recruitment website was 52 months late. Number of full-time trained personnel Source: Ministry of Defence

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Trump has expressed serious interest in buying Greenland: report News

A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Trump has asked his advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, during “meetings, dinners, and passing conversations” because of Greenland's “abundant resources and geopolitical importance,” according to White House sources. While some of Trump's advisers support the idea as a “good economic play,” others dismiss the inquiry as a “fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition.”
Coincidentally, the president will be making his first visit to Denmark next month, although the sources say the scheduled trip is completely unrelated.
Greenland, which has a population of roughly 56,000, has welcomed U.S. military personnel to its Thule Air Base as part of a treaty between the U.S. and Denmark that has been used by both U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and includes a ballistic missile radar station.
The Journal reports that advisers have said Trump sees purchasing Greenland as equivalent to the 1867 U.S. acquisition of Alaska. However, it remains unclear how the president would realistically pursue such a deal.
Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland at a dinner earlier this year after he was told that Denmark was having “financial trouble” with the ice-covered country, but a source suggested the president meant it as a joke.
“What do you guys think about that?” Trump reportedly asked the room , “Do you think it would work?”
The president's reported interest in Greenland is not unprecedented. In 1946, the U.S. offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million, but the Danish government refused to sell. The Journal also reported that the State Department inquired about purchasing Greenland and Iceland from Denmark in 1867.
Greenland real-estate agent Kenneth Mortensen told WSJ that no one can “own land” in his country since it is all owned by the government, although “you get a right to use the land where you want to build a house” without buying.
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn. Trending in Media

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