Who is Rahul Gandhi?
Rahul Gandhi, an MP until just recently and the descendant of Jawaharlal Nehru, has been sentenced to two years in prison for a four-year-old defamation case. This sentence has been spurred by the popularity of Rahul Gandhi’s Congress Party and the success of the Unite India March against the BJP government.
Restored Saudi-Iran Relations and the Role of China
Following a seven-year period of severed ties, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have recently agreed to resume diplomatic relations, with the assistance of China. Both countries have expressed their appreciation and gratitude to Iraq, Oman, and China for their positive role in facilitating, hosting, and sponsoring the talks. To Afifa Iqbal, the restoration of diplomatic ties is a welcome development, but she believes that it is improbable that major disagreements between the two states polarized by religion, geopolitics, and geostrategic interests will be resolved.
Energy Crisis in South Africa: Eskom & Blackouts
An ongoing energy crisis in South Africa is characterized by widespread nationwide blackouts of electricity. These rolling blackouts have been attributed to the inadequate generation capacity by Eskom, the government-owned national power provider of South Africa. A nationwide “state of disaster” was declared last month in the wake of daily power outages lasting up to 10 hours.
The Pension Fiasco in France and the UK
President Macron’s decision to bring pension reforms in France has been met with displeasure from the citizens who find the increase in the legal retirement age—from 62 to 64—particularly concerning. Such resistance, in Maryam Jilani’s opinion, is in sharp contrast to the UK’s silent submission of the discriminatory gender pension gap. The French labor strikes are effectively mobilizing citizens thus showing the strength and hold of the unions.
A Digital Democracy: Social Media & Political Participation
Social media has proven itself to be a valuable tool in the political and democratic discourse, digitally and globally. It provides an opportunity for individuals to engage in civilized political discussions. Political engagement on social media is a necessary means to uplift democracy. Such discussions are the basis for the liberation of ideas and the evolution of the political and democratic processes. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey to understand the effect of social media on democracy. In 12 out of 19 nations, adults aged 18 to 29 believe that social media has been good for democracy – as opposed to those 50 and older who believed otherwise.
Declassified Diplomacy: Argentina and the US
The entire Carter administration disapproved of the human rights violations by the military junta within Argentina in the 1970s. However, the declassified documents in the National Security Archive reveal that “quiet diplomacy” was used to maintain political ties with the military junta. Instead of voicing his concerns in public, President Jimmy Carter chose to discuss the internal conflict with General Videla of the military junta in a private setting.
Addressing Africa’s Looming Debt Crisis
As China and the US spar for international supremacy, developing African economies are in need of cooperation to stave off a debt crisis by facilitating long-term investments. Africa’s total debt burden is estimated at $696 billion, with China being the largest single bilateral donor as its debts are comparable to the World Bank-International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). What’s often intentionally overlooked in the foreground of debt-trap diplomacy is China’s potential in supporting Africa’s debt sustainability. As such, Henri Kouam believes that the broader geopolitical rivalry between China and the US must be separated from Africa’s debt problems.
Will Kim Ju Ae Be North Korea’s Next Successor?
Since November 2022, Kim Jong-Un has made several public appearances alongside his beloved daughter Kim Ju-Ae. This has led analysts around the world into making numerous assumptions and speculations regarding the father-daughter duo. Both have been observed attending ICB missile launches in the North Korean capital, so this could be an indication of a possible successor. Or, is it just a mere publicity stunt by the Kim dynasty to showcase their importance?
A Guide to Becoming a Civil Servant in Pakistan
Becoming a civil servant in Pakistan requires passing through multiple phases, including meeting eligibility criteria, passing an MCQ-based preliminary test, a written examination, a psychological assessment test, and an interview. Those who successfully pass these stages must undergo six months of training at the Civil Services Academy (CSA), followed by specialized training programs at specific group academies. Passing the CSS exam is no easy feat. Only 2.11% of the students passed the written exams in 2021 (364 of 17,240), and a mere 1.94% passed in 2022 (393 of 20,262)!
Women’s Mobility in Karachi: The Pink Bus Initiative
Mobility is a challenge for many women around the world, but especially in Pakistan. Maryam Jilani explores infrastructure and how it causes gendered inequalities. She applauds the pink bus service in Karachi and encourages initiatives and infrastructure for gender-inclusive access.
Are China and Russia Replacing the US in the Middle East?
China and Russia are making strategic and economic deals with the Middle East, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia, which will be detrimental to the domination of the US in the region. Moreover, Western hostility has brought China, Russia, and Iran close to forming a triple axis. To better understand China and Russia’s increasing relations in the Middle East, Sana Azhar explores the economic, strategic, and soft power domains.
PEMRA Suspends ARY News’ License Again
In recent spate of political events, the license of one of the mainstream news broadcasters, ARY News, was cancelled by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). PEMRA issued a ban on airing the speeches of the former premier Imran Khan on March 5th, with the warning that any media house found in violation would have its broadcasting license cancelled.
Will Chinese BeiDou Surpass American GPS?
Zainab Imran provides a detailed comparison of two navigation systems: the Chinese BeiDou and the American GPS. BeiDou is a recent development in the global navigation system, and this seems to be a new hegemonic strategy by China to deal with its contenders. Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation, BeiDou has been in development since the 1990s and has been operational globally since 2020.
A Look at the Major Economic Systems
Haris Khan explains the three major economic systems recognized globally, namely command, market, and mixed economies. He believes that mixed economies, owing to the fusion of both the command and market economy’s characteristics, are more viable and efficient.
Guyana Moves Towards Digital Governance
The government of Guyana wants to move its services online and create an efficient digital system of governance. The digital structure of the nation will be essential for fostering sustainable growth and lowering economic and social inequality.
Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Elections
Nigeria, the giant of Africa, held its 2023 presidential elections on 25th February. This one marked the 7th election since democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999. Bola Ahmed Tinbu, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi were the front-runners out of a total of 18 candidates. On 1st March, Nigeria’s electoral commission declared Mr Tinbu as the victor with 8.7 million votes.
The Football War of 1969
There were a series of tensions and disagreements over territories and immigration that escalated to a conflict following a football match between El Salvador and Honduras. The Football War of 1969 was a hundred-hour war that resulted in the dissolution of the El Salvador–Honduras diplomatic ties and the deaths of over 3000 people from both countries.