In this week's news from outside the country, Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has not been seen in public since October. However, this "disappearance" gathered more steam when he didn’t appear on his own show Africa’s Business Heroes. Chinese regulators are believed to have intensified their crackdown on Jack Ma’s Ant group that was expected to launch its IPO which was suddenly suspended in November.
Meanwhile, the UK is going in for a fresh lockdown starting Wednesday till mid-February to curb the growing number of cases of COVID-19. It is important to note that the UK PM has been invited as the chief guest for the Republic Day on 26th January. This will be in the midst of the lockdown situation in the country. However, sources say preparations are afoot to welcome him in India.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma 'Missing'
- Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has not been seen in public since October.
- However, this 'disappearance' gathered more steam when he didn’t appear on his own show Africa’s Business Heroes
- Chinese regulators are believed to have intensified their crackdown on Jack Ma’s Ant group that was expected to launch its IPO which was suddenly suspended in November.
- Reports suggest he was asked not to leave the country and has "embraced supervision".
- This coincided with Jack Ma’s address in Shanghai in October where he had attacked the regulators and said the system doesn’t allow innovation to prosper.
- Listen to our podcast with political commentator Einar Tangent on this intriguing development.
New Cornonavirus variant forces fresh lockdown in UK
- UK is going in for a fresh lockdown starting Wednesday till mid-February to curb the growing number of cases of COVID-19.
- The new strain reported in the UK that is 70% more infectious, has resulted in even more hospitalizations than the first wave as per reports.
- Fresh lockdown will mean people across England will not be allowed to leave home except for essential medical needs, food and exercise and for those who can’t work from home.
- Schools and colleges will be shut till at least mid-February, exams will not happen as per normal in summer.
- From India’s perspective, it is important to note that UK PM has been invited as the chief guest for Republic Day on 26th January. This will be in the midst of the lockdown and aggravated COVID situation in the country. However, sources say preparations are afoot to welcome him in India.
India at UNSC
- India took over as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year tenure from 1st January
- India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumuti while speaking exclusively to News18 said India is “entering a council which is divided and facing potential paralysis in decision-making” so it needs to navigate the fault-lines this time during its UNSC stint.
- As for reforms he said – “we are convinced that procrastination is no more an option. An immediate, time-bound and text based negotiations are critical.”
India and Pakistan exchange list of prisoners and nuclear installations
- As per the norm, India and Pakistan simultaneously exchanged the lists on the 1st of January.
- Under the provisions of a 2008 Agreement a list of civilian prisoners and fishermen are exchanged every year on 1st January and 1st July.
- India handed over lists of 263 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 77 fishermen in India's custody to Pakistan and Pakistan shared lists of 49 civilian prisoners and 270 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians.
- As per India’s press release – “The Government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen, along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody. In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 03 Indian civilian prisoners and 185 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan. In addition, Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to Indian Fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners who are in Pakistan's custody and are believed to be Indian.”
- Under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan, that came into force on 27 January 1991 requires both sides to inform each other of the nuclear installations and facilities. This was the 30th consecutive exchange.
EAM to visit Sri Lanka
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will undertake his first visit of 2021 to Sri Lanka
- The statement from India underlined that – “As such, it signifies the priority both countries attach to strengthening their close and cordial relations in all spheres of mutual interest.”
- The visit this week will focus on discussions on all bilateral issues.
- India has been making an effort to build better ties and understand with the Rajapaksas, who are in the saddle at the moment. This, as India faced a friction during Mahindra Rajapaksa’s tenure as President who showed clear leanings towards China.