Author: Mayyaada Panhwar

BENGALURU – NASA will train an Indian astronaut for a voyage to the International Space Station as early as next year, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Wednesday, amid deepening space ties between India and the United States. “There is an opportunity to share science,” Nelson said, speaking at an event in Bengaluru, where he is due to inspect the NISAR satellite on Thursday. NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a low-Earth orbit observatory system jointly developed by NASA and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Roughly the size of an SUV, the satellite is set to be launched from India in the…

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Much like its ideological counterparts at HispanTV (Iranian-owned) and Actualidad RT (Russian-owned), Telesur wraps its incitement into a sophisticated and slick twenty-four-hour news platform through its website, broadcasts, and social media presence. Though it is difficult to gauge its influence, numbers suggest that Telesur’s message is impactful. Telesur has two million followers on its Spanish X account, 117,500 on its English X account, and more than half a million on Instagram. Its YouTube account has over 1.7 million subscribers, with 100,000 new subscribers and almost 7.4 million video views since October 7 (It also posts its videos on the Daily Motion). The network traditionally pushes out conspiracy theories, fake news, “whataboutism,”…

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Pakistan has acknowledged that some of the political dissidents, who have sought asylum in the United Kingdom and other countries, had links with terrorist entities inside the country. Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch made the statement during her weekly media briefing on Thursday, while responding to a question on the alleged acid attack on jailed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and former special assistant to the Prime Minister, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, last week claimed that he was attacked at his home in the UK, adding “acidic liquid” was thrown at him. When asked about the…

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Brussels (25/11 – 33.3) Tajikistan Supreme Court has sentenced a widely respected 65-year-old female journalist, Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva, to 21 years in prison on charges of incitement to overthrowing the government. Mamadshoeva was accused by the authorities of being a leading figure behind the political turbulence that rocked her native Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) earlier this year. State propaganda has previously alleged that the veteran reporter and activist hatched the purported plot, for which no credible evidence has been produced, at the behest of an unnamed foreign government. Mamadshoeva’s brother, Khursand, was last week sentenced to 18 years in prison on…

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Sri Lanka and Sweden convened the first round of bilateral political consultations virtually at senior official level last week. The consultations took place on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries which will be celebrated in 2024. The consultations focussed on consolidating existing multifaceted partnership and identifying new avenues for increased cooperation. Strengthening the bilateral partnership in ICT, Science and Technology, Climate Change, Environment and bilateral economic partnership were the main focus areas of the discussion. The two sides also exchanged views on cooperation at multilateral fora. The Sri Lankan side…

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“We’re not really doing foreign policy here,” a senior Indian diplomat told me a few months ago about India’s play in, and with, Bangladesh. The implication: It’s more India’s domestic policy than pure foreign policy, an extension of — as I first wrote in a column back in 2015 — the logic of securing Bangladesh to secure India. This is not always done with finesse, but with what, sometimes, seems like a policy battering ram. In that may lie the root cause of the relatively poor optics that India has in Bangladesh despite great strides in bilateral trade, connectivity, lines…

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Soon, you might be able to watch TikTok ad-free. Mostly. And for a price. As first reported by Android Authority, code within the TikTok app indicates that TikTok might begin to test an ad-free subscription tier for users. The site reported that for $4.99, subscribers could get an ad-free experience on TikTok — no other major strings attached, from the looks of it. TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch it’s testing this product but only in a single, English-speaking market outside the U.S. It disputed the Android Authority report that said it was coming to the U.S. as small-scale tests don’t indicate a product…

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Brussels (3/11 – 34) Dubai is calling for a united front to spur the development of generative artificial intelligence to maximise its potential and reap economic benefits, the chief executive of the Dubai Future Foundation has said. Countries need to come together to prepare society for the innovation and to help bridge the gap between policies and the advancement of the emerging technology, which has a reported business opportunity of as much as $4.4 trillion, Khalfan Belhoul said at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI conference on Wednesday. The industries with highest AI potential include banking, software and platforms, energy, communications and media, and health, according to the DFF.…

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Deposed prime minister and proclaimed offender Nawaz Sharif on Monday filed petitions in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to revive appeals against his conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references. On October 19, the IHC had accepted the PML-N supremo’s pleas, granting him protective bail in both cases until October 24 (Tuesday). Upon his return to the country over the weekend, he had landed in the capital city first to sign applications at the Islamabad Inter­national Airport for restoring pending appeals against his convictions in the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia references. In July 2018, ousted Nawaz was handed 10 years in jail in the Avenfield properties corruption reference for owning…

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Berlin (24/10 – 67) UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Nazila Ghanea, visited Tajikistan from April 11 to April 21 to conduct research on issues in this field. The UN expert will assess religious freedom and its interaction with the right to freedom of expression, discuss gender equality, women’s rights, and children’s rights. She stated that the implementation of religious freedom and belief in the country is a cause for concern. Ghanea, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, called on Tajikistan to adapt and review its laws, policies, and practices regarding religion…

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