Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 12th of September, 2017 :-
1. Rohingya situation textbook example of ethnic cleansing :-
UN human rights chief said today the situation in Myanmar is “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” even as several thousand Rohingyas continued to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Adding to the misery, UN spokesman said an estimated 313,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25.
Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
“We have received multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians,” Zeid al-Hussein added.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called the Myanmar government to “end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population”.
He said he was particularly “appalled” by reports that Myanmar authorities had begun laying landmines along the border with Bangladesh to prevent those who fled from returning.
Zeid criticised the Myanmar government and asked them to “stop pretending that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages.”
“This complete denial of reality is doing great damage to the international standing of a government which, until recently, benefited from immense goodwill,” he declared.
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama has written to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Myanmar.
“I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation,” Dalai Lama said in his letter to Suu Kyi.
2. United Nations Security Council unanimously imposes new sanctions on North Korea :-
The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea, slapping a ban on textile exports and restricting shipments of oil products to punish Pyongyang for its sixth and largest nuclear test.
With backing from China and Russia, the council adopted a US-drafted sanctions resolution just one month after banning exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the tough new measures were a message to Pyongyang that “the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” but she also held out the prospect of a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“We are not looking for war. The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no-return,” Haley told the council.
“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it.
“If North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure. The choice is theirs.”
The South Korean government welcomed the resolution, calling it a “grave warning that (North Korea’s) continued provocations will only intensify its diplomatic isolation and economic pressure.”
During tough negotiations, the United States dropped initial demands for a full oil embargo and a freeze on the foreign assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in a bid to win support from China and Russia.
The resolution instead bans textile exports, cuts off natural gas shipments to North Korea, places a ceiling on deliveries of refined oil products and caps crude oil shipments at their current level.
It bars countries from issuing new work permits to North Korean laborers sent abroad and seeks to phase out the practice by asking countries to report on the date for ending existing contracts.
Some 93,000 North Koreans work abroad, providing Kim’s regime with a source of revenue to develop its missile and nuclear programs, according to a US official familiar with the negotiations.
Under the measure, countries are authorized to inspect ships suspected of carrying banned North Korean cargo but must first seek the consent of the flag-state.
Joint ventures will be banned and the names of senior North Korean official and three entities were added to a UN sanctions blacklist that provides for an assets freeze and a global travel ban.
It was the eighth series of sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.
3. Tenth-anniversary Apple iPhone to release today in US :-
The internet is going gaga before the new iPhone release. iPhone will be releasing the much awaited new model in its series on Tuesday in the US.
Major features of the new phone including its anticipated name are flooding the internet.
The new launch is believed to revolutionise the iPhone series. The company will be marking its 10th anniversary with the launch of new model iPhone 8.
The anticipated name of the new model is said to be called iPhone X.
The handset is designed with promising features that include wireless charging, facial recognition, and edge to edge display. Also for the first time ever an Apple phone will be launched with no home button.
A report speculates that the new phone will be available for pre-order on September 15 and will hit stores by September 22.
The company will be releasing three phones in the event.
Besides iPhone X, Apple will also introduce two other phones called iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Reports also indicate that Apple may gift its users Apple Watch and 4K Apple TV.
iPhone X will be Apple’s most expensive handset to date. According to a report in The Telegraph, one of the executives at Apple manufacturer Foxconn has clarified that the high-end device will “not be cheap”.
The phone might cost $1,000 in the US which makes it 54 per cent more expensive than the current iPhone 7.
The new model is expected in three colours, White, Black and Copper or Gold.
The handset is hoped to come with a bigger screen size of about 5.8-inch edge to edge OLED display. However, Apple may not increase the actual size of the footprint.
The handset may also introduce a different back replacing the usual aluminium screen.
The new model may completely remove the original iPhone home button. In its previous launch, Apple had adorned iPhone 7 with a solid state home button which operated not with a click but vibrations. Apple has also introduced advanced pressure detection technology with 3D Touch. Also, the phone screen’s lights up as soon as it is picked up. The new model may get further up gradation.
Reports also indicate that the new iPhone may be launched with an infrared scanner replacing its Touch ID fingerprint scanner and home button. The feature will unlock the phone using facial recognition software.
The leaked images have also hinted on a 3D camera.
Previous leaks have hinted on new developments in Apple’s camera technology. The “SmartCam” is said to differentiate between different scenes and objects.
Rumours hint that Apple may offer wireless charging as an optional extra.
The new handset will be released by Apple CEO Tim Cook at an event in California.
4. Pakistan struggles to export sugar surplus as global prices plunge :-
Pakistan’s sugar industry is urging the government to reinstate export subsidies after a steep fall in global sugar prices has slowed shipments, adding to a domestic surplus just as the country prepares to harvest a record crop.
Without revenues from exports, local mills will struggle to pay farmers for new supplies, while large stockpiles will stop domestic prices from rallying in the world’s eighth-largest sugar producer, industry officials said.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met with the politically influential industry last week and directed the Commerce Ministry and Sugar Advisory Board to work on ways to resolve “the issues and problems” affecting sugar, his office said in a statement.
Pakistan last had an export subsidy in 2015/16, set at 13,000 rupees ($124) per tonne for exports of 650,000 tonnes of the sweetener, and a similar subsidy level is needed again, the industry said.
“Mills are not able to export sugar at the current international prices,” Iskandar Khan, senior vice chairman of the politically influential Pakistan Sugar Mills Association told Reuters.
Global prices have fallen over a quarter so far in 2017 to around $378 a tonne as output is expected to climb in key producers like India, China and Thailand.
“In the world market, prices need to rise by $60 per tonne to make exports viable,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.
Sugar cane is a popular crop in Pakistan as the government sets procurement prices, while the industry is protected by a 40 percent import tariff which has led to high domestic prices.
The association says the area given over to sugar cane has risen about 30 percent over the past seven years, while output has more than doubled with the help of government subsidies for fertilizers and other aids.
Pakistan produced 7 million tonnes of sugar in the 2016/17 marketing year ending September 30, exceeding local demand of around 5 million tonnes, and the association pegs this year’s crop at a record 8 million tonnes.
Pakistan controls sugar exports via quotas in an effort to ensure sufficient local supplies. So far this year it has authorised 725,000 tonnes of shipments, which would make it the world’s ninth largest exporter, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
However, the country has actually exported only about 350,000 tonnes, traders estimate, with current stockpiles sitting at about 1 million tonnes.
Mills in Pakistan usually start crushing in October, but this year plan to delay crushing by a few months as they lack the funds to settle bills for cane purchases before the new season, said a sugar miller based in Karachi.
“Pakistan has no choice but to export surplus sugar,” said the Mumbai-based dealer.
5. Veteran actor Tom Alter battling skin cancer, in the fourth stage :-
Padma Shri Tom Alter, a famous film, television and theater actor is currently battling cancer.
He was informed of the disease today after being admitted to Saifee hospital in Mumbai last week where he is under expert supervision.
The 67-year-old actor is suffering from squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
As reported by IANS, his son Jamie Alter said, “It is what is called a squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer). It is a relapse of the same thing which had happened last year and unfortunately, for various reasons, it was not detected at that time and has come back.”
The actor had to get his thumb amputated last year due to the condition. His son confirmed that “now he is in stage four”.
Jamie added, “He is fighting it well. He is showing the will to battle it out. He is under the best care possible. Various doctors across the country are in consultation. As a family, we are very happy with the treatment he is getting. His bodily functions are absolutely fine. The doctors are very happy with that. The past one week has gone in getting him in a state of physical strength, whereby the doctor is able to start the next round of medication.”
Tom, an Indian actor of American descent has worked on several TV shows and has featured in more than 300 films. He became a recognised name in the industry after giving a stellar performance in TV serial “Passion” where he played the character of a gangster named Keshav Kalsi. He is also an author of three books.
Tom was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2008 for his unprecedented contributions to the art and film industry.