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US, UK and Australia launch Indo-Pacific security pact to counter China

London: The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Australia have announced a new trilateral security alliance in the Indo-Pacific, in an apparent attempt to counter China.

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US, UK and Australia launch Indo-Pacific security pact to counter China
US, UK and Australia launch Indo-Pacific security pact to counter China

As per reports, the historic security pact includes a joint effort to help the Australian military acquire nuclear-powered submarines, using technology provided by the US.

The pact, to be known as ‘Aukus’ will also cover artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum technologies.

“It is the biggest defense partnership among the countries in decades,” analysts said, terming it biggest security arrangement between the three nations since ‘World war two’.

A joint statement issued by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison said that the new partnership aimed to promote security and prosperity in the region.

"This is an historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," joint statement read.

Aukus will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance which also includes New Zealand and Canada.

The leaders did not refer to China directly, but said regional security challenges had grown significantly.

China's embassy in Washington reacted by saying countries "should not build exclusionary blocs".

Moreover, Beijing has been accused of raising tensions in disputed territories such as the South China Sea.

These submarines are much faster and harder to detect than conventionally powered fleets. They can stay submerged for months, travel for longer distances and also carry more.

Analysts say, “Having them stationed in Australia is critical to US influence in the region”.

The US is sharing its submarine technology for the first time in 50 years. It had previously only shared technology with the UK.

In addition, Australia will become the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines, after the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia.

Mehak Javed

Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

Sports

FIFA ready to test semi-automated offside technology at Arab Cup

The technology is based on limb tracking and provides the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) with information before the on-field official takes a final call.

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FIFA ready to test semi-automated offside technology at Arab Cup

World soccer's governing body FIFA will test its semi-automated offside technology at the Arab Cup 2021 which begins in Qatar on Tuesday, with Chief Refereeing Officer Pierluigi Collina saying the competition represented its most important trial so far.

The technology is based on limb tracking and provides the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) with information before the on-field official takes a final call.

"We'll have a camera setup installed under the roof of each stadium," FIFA's Football Technology and Innovation Director Johannes Holzmueller said in a statement on Monday.

"The limb-tracking data extracted from the video will be sent to the operations rooms and the calculated offside line and detected kick-point is provided to the replay operator in almost real time.

"The replay operator then has the opportunity to show it immediately to the VAR. At the FIFA Arab Cup the assistant VAR at a dedicated offside station can immediately validate and confirm the information."
FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger said in April that he hoped the organisation would be ready to implement the technology at next year's World Cup in Qatar.

In March, former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten called on football's lawmakers to consider scrapping the offside rule, saying that the sport would be better off without it.

The game has seen several contentious offside calls since the introduction of the VAR, with growing concern about the time taken and the precision with which offsides are judged.

"Technology is very important and useful in both the pre-match preparation and the decision-making process during matches," Collina said.

"In an offside incident, the decision is made after having analysed not only the players' position but also their involvement in the move.

"Technology – today or tomorrow – can draw a line but the assessment of an interference with play or with an opponent remains in the referee's hands."

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

Pakistan has offered to host OIC moot to discuss Afghan crisis: minister

The meeting has been called to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and pathways for an urgent humanitarian response.

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Pakistan has offered to host OIC moot to discuss Afghan crisis: minister

Islamabad: Welcoming  Saudi Arabia's move to request an extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed on Monday announced that Pakistan had offered to host the meeting in Islamabad on December 17.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO), Qureshi said Pakistan "fully endorses" the initiative taken by Saudi Arabia and expressed confidence that other OIC members would also back the proposal.

Saudi Arabia, which is the chair of the OIC summit, made the call for the extraordinary session the same day, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The agency reported that the meeting had been called to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and "pathways for an urgent humanitarian response", acknowledging Pakistan's offer to host the summit.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, the country — already struggling with drought and severe poverty after decades of war — has seen its economy all but collapse, raising the spectre of an exodus of refugees.

According to the FO's statement, Qureshi, too, highlighted the need for providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan in these difficult times.

"Afghanistan is a founding member of the OIC. As part of the Islamic Ummah, we are bound by fraternal bonds of amity and brotherhood with the people of Afghanistan," he said, stressing that "today, our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before."

Describing the situation in the warn-torn country, he said Afghanistan currently "faces a serious humanitarian situation — millions of Afghans, including women and children, confront an uncertain future due to [the] shortage of food, medicines, and other essential life supplies".

And the advent of winter had exacerbated this humanitarian crisis, the foreign minister added.​He emphasised the need for the OIC to "step in to help our Afghan brethren".

"We should step up our collective efforts to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, provide immediate and sustained support to them, and continue to remain engaged with them for the wellbeing and prosperity of Afghanistan."

According to the FO, the first extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad in January 1980, also on the then situation in Afghanistan.

"Next month, we would, once again, gather in Islamabad, to reaffirm our abiding solidarity with and support to the Afghan people," it quoted Qureshi as saying.

The foreign minister added that he was confident about the meeting considering "concrete steps to help address the humanitarian and economic challenges facing Afghanistan," and that he looked forward to welcoming his fellow foreign ministers from OIC member states to Islamabad.

 

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World

Sweden's first female PM Magdalena Andersson reappointed days after quitting

Sweden's first female prime minister Magdalena Andersson was reappointed on Monday days after she quit amid political turmoil and jostling ahead of elections.

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Sweden's first female PM Magdalena Andersson reappointed days after quitting

Lawmakers narrowly elected her premier for the second time in less than a week after she set out plans for a minority government made up of only her Social Democrats.

The former finance minister had won a similar vote on Wednesday but threw in the towel hours later after a junior coalition partner left the government over a lost budget vote. read more

"Like all minority governments, we will seek co-operation with other parties in parliament, and I see good opportunities to do so," Andersson, whose party holds 100 seats in the 349-seat parliament, told a news conference.

"The Social Democrats have the biggest party group in parliament by a wide margin. We also have a long tradition of cooperation with others and stand ready to do what is needed to lead Sweden forward."

The leader of the right-wing opposition Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, described the incoming administration as a "nine-month caretaker government" and said it would not be able to achieve much in the run-up to elections due in September 2022.

Andersson will have to lead one of Sweden's weakest governments in recent decades, and govern on a budget in part formulated by three opposition parties, including the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, whose gains over the past decade lie at heart of Sweden's political turmoil.

Parliament adopted budget amendments put forward by the opposition last week which heavily reshaped government spending plans.

The Social Democrats have been in power since 2014 supported by parties united by little else than their desire to keep the Sweden Democrats from influencing policy.

The centre-right opposition has struggled to gather enough votes to form a majority government and polls suggest there may be little shift in the political calculus in the next election.

Andersson will face major challenges.

Gang violence plagues the suburbs of major cities. The health service barely coped with the pandemic and needs strengthening, while the government will need to manage a promised transition to a zero-emissions economy.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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