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May, 2, 2016

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Commentary > China Post
It's a stunning reality check which many diplomats knew but did not expect to hear. That for 2016, "Survival will be an achievement for the National Unity Government" in war torn Afghanistan. The words came as a blunt assessment by the U.N.'s new political point man for Afghanistan, Mr. Nicholas Haysom who warned the Security Council that the beleaguered South Asian land faces a "difficult fighting season" as the Taliban will seriously confront the Kabul government on a nationwide scale.
 
Over the last quarter century, China's economy grew at a phenomenal rate, its diplomatic influence now reaches every corner of the world and its military might is rapidly approaching the level of American military power. Nevertheless, in one area, China remains extremely vulnerable: its human rights practices.
 
The modern age of geopolitics began just over a century ago. The influence of geographical factors on international relations was first highlighted by Sir Halford Mackinder in his famous paper submitted to the Royal Geographical Society in 1904. He extended the scope of geopolitical analysis to encompass the entire world...
 
Altogether 14 officers, including three generals, were disciplined last Friday for involvement in a controversial search of a private citizen in New Taipei City, which is turning out to look like a bad dream for many people. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) released a list of the punished officers, among whom were Lt. Gen. Wen Cheng-kuo, director-general of its Political Warfare Bureau (PWB); Lt. Gen. Hsu Chang, commander of the Military Police Command (MPC); and Maj. Gen. Chao Tai-chuan, director of the PWB Security Department.
 
Perhaps more than the average Joe (which is my middle name), I take a great interest in words. This may be partly due to a problem I've since largely overcome. As a child I stuttered rather badly at times when I spoke. To this day, I do not imitate stutterers to get a cheap laugh when story-telling. I am incredibly sympathetic to people who fight to get their words out because of this affliction. Anyone who laughs at a stutterer is a bully.
 
"Big Brother Is Watching You" was the pervasive punch-line in British writer George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Recent developments regarding business and government relations give fresh currency to the classic.
 
Five years after the Arab Spring revolutions swept the Middle East, the expansive North African country of Libya has descended into a dangerous downward spiral in which competing governments, militias, and terrorist elements have formed a chaotic witch's brew on the doorstep of Europe. Ominously, according to diplomatic and military officials, Islamic State (ISIL) terrorists have become entrenched in this strategic but fragmented state that borders six other countries.
 
The case of the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers, who all turned up in China, has rocked Hong Kong society to its core, shaking confidence in the mainland's promises of "one country, two systems." At the same time, it has placed China under a microscope with governments around the world accusing Beijing of rampant violation of human rights and international norms by abducting individuals and taking them to the mainland.
 
On Saturday, March 5 members of Democrats Abroad in Taiwan voted to award delegates to their party's presidential candidate nominating convention from among overseas voters who register to vote in a "global primary" rather than vote in a primary or caucus in a United States state or territory.
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A 2013 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations shows that 51 percent of South Asia's 1.6 billion people are directly engaged in agriculture and 42 percent of South Asia's landmass is under agricultural use.
 
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