A senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, extended an invitation to Musk during a press conference held in Beirut on Tuesday….reports Asian Lite News
Following Elon Musk’s visit to Israel, the tech billionaire has now been invited by Hamas to Gaza to witness the destruction of the besieged enclave territory under Israeli attacks.
According to The Guardian, Musk was invited by a senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan, during a press conference in Beirut on Tuesday.
“We invite him to visit Gaza to see the extent of the massacres and destruction committed against the people of Gaza, in compliance with the standards of objectivity and credibility,” Hamdan said.
However, in response to a post about the news inviting him, Musk stated that the situation “seems a bit dangerous there right now.”
“Seems a bit dangerous there right now, but I do believe that a long-term prosperous Gaza is good for all sides,” he wrote on X.
Musk on Monday visited the Kfar Aza in Israel, which was one of the first places to be attacked by the Hamas militant group when it launched its unprecedented attack on October 7.
More than 1,200 people have died in Israel, while over 200 others were taken as hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompanied him to the residence of Ofir Liebstein, who fought back and died while fighting Hamas.
Musk has been severely criticised for anti-Semitic content on X in recent weeks. He also came under rising fire for supposed failures to combat antisemitism on X.
US President Joe Biden’s administration recently slammed Musk of repeating a “hideous lie” about Jewish people, as the X owner continues to endorse far-right viewpoints and agrees with posts that promote antisemitism.
Musk replied to a post sharing an antisemitic conspiracy theory, calling it “actual truth”.
He responded to a conspiracy theory that motivated the man who killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.
Doraiswami said that India has come a long distance. “Our approach to this particularly egregious act of terror is, was, and will always be: never forget, never forgive, and never again.”…reports Asian Lite News
Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vikram Doraiswami, emphasised on Tuesday that India’s approach to such egregious acts of terror is, was and will always be “Never forget, never forgive, and never again.”
The High Commission of India in London organised a solemn event to pay tributes to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks at the Gandhi Hall, India House in London.
Doraiswami said that India has come a long distance. “Our approach to this particularly egregious act of terror is, was, and will always be: never forget, never forgive, and never again.”
He stressed that the Indian government has put in a lot of effort, especially in the last several years, to ensure that “never again” is understood and implemented as policy, both in terms of ensuring systemic resilience and better preparedness, adding, “but also in terms of our clear messaging to the world that we will not countenance such acts of terror.”
Meanwhile, Indian High Commission in India shared on their social media X, stating, “Friends of India and members of Indian Community joined to remember the victims of 26/11/2008 #MumbaiTerrorAttack. Hon’ble MPs @CatherineWest1, @VirendraSharma and Lord Rami Ranger also attended and paid tributes. #NeverForgiveNeverForget #NeverAgain #Mumbai2611”
Moreover, while talking about how the world is reacting to Israel’s decision to identify Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) as a terror group, Mr Doraiswami highlighted that there is a greater willingness now to recognise that there has been a lot of action that is still pending from the state that primarily and significantly uses this as instrumentation of state policy.
“I think our consistent and unwavering stand is that this has to be addressed substantively through the legal and international domains. I think that is beginning to find resonance in a way never before,” he stressed.
He further added, “I think that’s an important part of the process that we must continue to follow. Having focused on the legal route and the route of applying pressure through the process by which the international community makes clear that this is unacceptable…”
Meanwhile, at the event, attendees paid tribute to the 166 lives lost in the brutal attacks on Mumbai 15 years ago.
The attendees included Catherine West, MP Labour, (House of Commons), Lord Remi Ranger (Member of the House of Lords), Virendra Sharma, MP Labour (House of Commons), and Sujit Ghosh, the Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK.
The Houthis have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since Hamas militants poured over the border into Israel on October 7…reports Asian Lite News
G7 foreign ministers called Wednesday on Iran-backed Houthi rebels to cease threats to international shipping and to release a vessel they seized earlier this month.
“Emphasizing the importance of maritime security, we call on all parties not to threaten or interfere with lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by all vessels,” a statement released by G7 chair Japan read.
“We especially call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks on civilians and threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels and release the M/V Galaxy Leader and its crew, illegally seized from international waters on November 19,” it added.
The Houthis have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since Hamas militants poured over the border into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping about 240.
Gaza’s Hamas government says that almost 15,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory ground and air operation.
On November 17, Houthis seized Israeli-linked cargo vessel the Galaxy Leader and its 25 international crew at the entrance to the Red Sea.
On Sunday, two ballistic missiles were launched from an area controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen, landing around 10 nautical miles from US destroyer the USS Mason, according to the Pentagon.
The USS Mason and other allied ships were responding to the boarding of a tanker ship off the Yemeni port city of Aden by five armed people — believed to be Somalis — who fled in a small boat and were detained, the Pentagon said.
IEA chief Fatih Birol recently said India will soon overtake China as the largest driver of global oil demand….reports Asian Lite News
Secretary, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Dammu Ravi, on Tuesday met a delegation of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in the national capital.
The IEA delegation was led by Deputy Executive Director Mary Burce Warlick, the MEA informed, adding that the two sides held discussions on New Delhi’s cooperation with the global agency.
“Secy (ER) Dammu Ravi met International Energy Agency (IEA) delegation led by Deputy Executive Director @AmbMaryWarlick in New Delhi today. Both sides discussed India’s cooperation with IEA, India’s energy transition and the global energy outlook,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the MEA, posted from his official handle on X.
IEA chief Fatih Birol recently said India will soon overtake China as the largest driver of global oil demand.
Birol made the statement during a G20 event in New Delhi, emphasising the “rapid growth of electrification in cars and buses in China as one of the reasons behind this projection”.
“I very much hope India will move closer in terms of electrification,” Birol said.
Earlier, the Union government and the IEA agreed to work together to strengthen cooperation in the field of data and research and enhance global energy security, stability, and sustainability.
The IEA is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organisation, which was founded in 1974 to help co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in the supply of oil.
The IEA works with governments and industry to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all. (ANI)
These strikes have coincided with reports of rocket and missile launches from southern Syria over the occupied Syrian Golan toward Israel, she added…reports Asian Lite News
UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, Najat Rochdi, has called for urgent de-escalation in Syria and warned of the spillover of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We remain deeply concerned about the prospect of a potentially wider escalation in Syria. The effects of the tragic developments in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel continue to be felt inside Syria,” she told the Security Council on Tuesday.
On November 25, Israeli airstrikes once again hit Damascus airport, once again temporarily halting the UN Humanitarian Air Service which operates from this airport and services Syria’s humanitarian programs, she noted as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.
“Targeting civilian infrastructure is prohibited under international law.”
The attack on Damascus airport came after several other airstrikes attributed to Israel on other locations across Syria as well as reports of Israeli artillery fire into southern Syria, she said.
These strikes have coincided with reports of rocket and missile launches from southern Syria over the occupied Syrian Golan toward Israel, she added.
Near-daily reports of attacks on US forces in northeast Syria continue, mostly claimed by the so-called Islamic Resistance in Iraq, though none have been reported in the last few days. The US, which claims that groups behind these attacks are backed by Iran, have carried out two more rounds of what they say are retaliatory strikes on facilities in Syria which it claims are used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and groups that it backs. Iran denies that these groups are affiliated with it, said Rochdi.
Meanwhile, the Syrian conflict continues in all its other dimensions, involving Syrian government forces, rebels, terrorist groups and Türkiye, she added.
“Violence continues in Syria, including spillover from Gaza and Israel. To continue such violence is to play with fire. Just one miscalculation … could ignite a dozen different powder kegs that lie within Syrian borders,” she warned.
“We need sustained de-escalation operationalised through robust channels between all stakeholders. We need the killing, injuring and displacement of civilians, and the destruction of infrastructure not just to decrease, but to end,” she noted.
Such a de-escalation of violent conflict would be a vital start, but it is not enough. The only way to tackle this unsustainable status quo is through a credible and comprehensive approach to a political solution that puts all of the issues of concern to stakeholders on the table, allowing Syrians to realise their legitimate aspirations and chart a path to restoring Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity, said Rochdi.
Attention on Syria has ebbed somewhat given the terrible crisis in the region, but the situation in Syria is too dangerous to be left unattended, she warned.
“If we do not give the Syrian parties and people a horizon of hope and a political path to resolving their conflict, I fear that the situation will boil over again and again, spilling across a region that is already in a moment of historical crisis,” Rochdi added.
Israel’s retaliation mainly through aerial bombings has claimed over 14,800 lives, according to the Gaza Health Ministry under the control of Hamas…reports Asian Lite News
At the UN General Assembly meeting on Palestine, India condemned both the terrorism with hostage-taking by Hamas and the “large-scale loss of civilian lives” in Israel’s retaliation, but did not directly name either of them.
While expressing support for a Two-State Solution for Palestine and humanitarian assistance to it, India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said on Tuesday: “The immediate trigger (for the crisis) was the terror attacks in Israel on October 7, which were shocking and deserve our unequivocal condemnation. There can be no justifications for terrorism and hostage-taking.
“India has a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism.”
On the crisis that spiralled with Israel’s retaliation, Kamboj said: “We are gathered today at a time when the security situation in the Middle East is deteriorating due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, with large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children and an alarming humanitarian crisis.
“This is clearly unacceptable and we have strongly condemned the death of civilians.”
In the Hamas attack, more than 1,200 people were killed in Israel and about 240 were taken hostage.
Israel’s retaliation mainly through aerial bombings has claimed over 14,800 lives, according to the Gaza Health Ministry under the control of Hamas.
After intense diplomatic efforts by the UN and Qatar, Israel agreed to a four-day truce that began on November 24 and was extended for two more days on Tuesday, allowing more relief supplies into Gaza, while Hamas consented to free some hostages taken during the October 7 attack.
Kamboj welcomed the humanitarian pause in the Hamas-Israel conflict and the release of some hostages and called for the release of those still remaining.
“The humanitarian pauses is a welcome step to ensure timely and continuous delivery of humanitarian aid,” she said.
India has sent 70 tonnes of humanitarian aid including 16.5 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies to Gaza, she said.
New Delhi abstained on an Assembly resolution last month calling for a humanitarian truce in the fighting “leading to a cessation of hostilities”, which was adopted with 121 votes, while supporting a failed amendment that sought to condemn terrorism.
This was the first time that India did not vote for a resolution at the UN that was backed by Palestine and it raised speculation about New Delhi’s commitment to the Palestinian cause as it develops closer relations with Israel.
Allaying any misgivings that India was moving away from the Palestine cause, Kamboj reiterated India’s support for it to emerge as an independent nation alongside Israel under what is called the Two-State Solution.
“India has always supported a negotiated the Two-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine issue leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side-by-side in peace with Israel,” Kamboj said.
“Our long-standing relationship with the Palestinian people, based on deep-rooted historical and people-to-people ties, and our consistent support to the people of Palestine in their endeavour for statehood, peace and prosperity,” she reaffirmed.
India “will continue to support the Palestinian people through our bilateral development partnership” and “continue to send humanitarian assistance to the people of Palestine”, she added.
Kamboj also hit out against Pakistan’s attempts at the UN to link the Palestine tissue to Kashmir.
“With regret, it is necessary to address the unfortunate and gravely misleading statements made by a fellow delegate,” she said without naming Pakistan.
“Such a pattern of distortion and malice can only be met with our profound sympathy for the mindset that perpetuates these untruths.”
India, she said, will not waste the Assembly’s time by exercising its right of reply and remarked that New Delhi’s position can be seen in previous rights of reply.
In those replies, India has reiterated that Kashmir is an irrevocable part of India and that the people of the union territory have through their votes affirmed its accession to India.
Speaking at the UN Security Council session last week on sustaining peace through development, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Munir Akram brought up the Kashmir issue.
“No amount of development can bring peace when peoples are suppressed by foreign occupation and forcibly denied of their right to self-determination as is happening in Palestine today and in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he had said.
Last month at a meeting of the Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonisation Committee, Pakistan’s Counsellor Naeem Sabar objected to Kashmir being a part of India.
The Russian Foreign Minister was speaking at the Primakov Readings International Forum in Moscow on Monday….reports Asian Lite News
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cited the statement of India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishanakar while elaborating on the change in global structure and multipolarity due to the rise of players like Global South and Global East.
He quoted Jaishankar’s remarks that the “world is much more than Europe” and the “world is much more than the West”.
The Russian Foreign Minister was speaking at the Primakov Readings International Forum in Moscow on Monday.
“The key difference of the current edition of multipolarity is the chance to acquire genuinely global proportions, relying on the fundamental principle of the UN Charter: the sovereign equality of states. Previously, decisions of global importance were driven by a small group of countries with the predominant voice coming from the Western community, for obvious reasons,” the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Lavrov as saying at the event.
It is pertinent to note that EAM Jaishankar while defending India’s position to buy Russian oil amid the conflict in Ukraine had made a similar statement.
“Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems,” Jaishankar had stated.
Speaking further, Lavrov said that today new players representing the Global South and Global East have stepped onto the international political stage and their numbers are growing.
“We rightfully call them the Global Majority. They are strengthening their sovereignty in addressing pressing issues, demonstrating independence, and prioritising their national interests rather than someone else’s whims,” Lavrov said.
He added, “To back this up, I will cite my Indian colleague, Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who said that the world is much more than just Europe. Clearly, this statement means that the world is much more than the West. Russia consistently advocates the democratisation of relations between countries and a fairer distribution of global benefits”. (ANI)
Meta listed as a “terrorist and extremist” organization could lead to criminal investigations and fines for users….reports Asian Lite News
A spokesperson for US tech conglomerate Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has been added to Russia’s wanted list, according to an online database maintained by the country’s interior ministry, Voice of America has reported.
The spokesperson, Andy Stone was reported on the list by Russian state agency Tass and independent news outlet Mediazona on Saturday.
In October, Russian authorities classified Meta as a “terrorist and extremist” organization, opening the way for possible criminal proceedings against Russian residents using its platforms.
Meta listed as a “terrorist and extremist” organization could lead to criminal investigations and fines for users.
The interior ministry’s database does not give details of the case against Stone, stating only that he is wanted on criminal charges.
Mediazona, the independent news website that covers Russia’s opposition and prison system, claims that Stone has been on the wanted list since February 2022, but authorities made no related statements at the time and no news media reported on the matter until this week, reported Voice of America.
In March this year, Russia’s federal Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe into Meta. It was alleged that the company’s actions following Moscow’s all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 amounted to inciting violence against Russians.
Stone announced temporary changes to Meta’s hate speech policy following Russia’s troop invasion into Ukraine. The changes allowed for “forms of political expression that would normally violate (its) rules, like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.'”
In the same statement, Stone added that “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians” will remain banned.
Mediazona claimed Sunday that an unspecified Russian court earlier this month issued an arrest warrant for Stone on charges of “facilitating terrorism.”
Western social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, were popular amongst young Russians before Moscow’s full-scale war on Ukraine. The popular apps have since been blocked in the country as part of a broad crackdown on independent media and other forms of critical speech.
These apps can still be accessed using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which can be easily downloaded on phones and laptops.
In April 2022, Russia also formally barred Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg from entering the country, Voice of America reported. (ANI)
From the US to Fiji and Botswana to Norway, 116 countries have signed on to the Alliance with 95 of them ratifying the agreement to become full members….writes Arul Louis
While nations discuss global warming in the world body’s conference complex at its headquarters, the Gandhi Solar Park on the roof powers their meetings.
A symbol of India’s commitment to fighting global warming, the 50 kilowatt set up was a gift from the nation in 2019, the 193 solar panels in the park represent each of the UN members.
Taking its dedication to clean energy globally, India has taken initiatives to help spread the use of solar energy, a key source of alternate energy to polluting power generated with fossil fuels, from the UN headquarters to the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.
India launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in cooperation with France in 2018 with the ambitious ‘Towards 1000’ plan to generate $1,000 billion of investments by 2030, while delivering clean energy access to 1,000 million people and installing 1,000 gigawatts of solar energy capacity by 2030.
From the US to Fiji and Botswana to Norway, 116 countries have signed on to the Alliance with 95 of them ratifying the agreement to become full members.
The ISA works with international development banks and the private and public sectors to attain its goals.
One of its goals is ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’ — transmitting electricity produced by countries with lots of sunshine to other countries.
It provides assistance to several Global South countries, especially in Africa, in training, planning and helping find finance and implementing projects.
ISA holds consultations with member countries to ascertain their needs and to find ways to meet them.
One of the outcomes of consultations was finding there was a need for 2.7 million solar-powered water pumps, which it is helping fulfill.
ISA’s activities range from setting up solar parks and rooftop generators to finding finance and managing waste from batteries.
Another initiative though the India-UN Development Fund has projects with an outlay of $3 million covering four clean energy projects and three climate action projects with a $3.2 million budget.
The projects under the Fund go beyond clean energy generation to meeting the challenges of climate change.
One project with seven tiny Pacific island nations vulnerable to weather-related disasters — recurring cyclones, droughts and floods — helps them deal with these crises by training people and providing material assistance like automatic weather stations.
An unusual project of the Fund was to install solar panels on the official residences of heads of state of 11 Pacific island nations as a way to highlight the importance of solar power and demonstrate its use.
In Cameroon, the Fund participated in a ‘Solar Mamas’ project, bringing women to India to be trained in setting up and maintaining solar power equipment that were installed in villages as part of clean energy programmes.
The clean energy projects in that country also included providing efficient stoves for cooking made with local materials and biodigesters for producing biogas briquettes.
In Mali, the Fund set up borewells with solar pumps and a water distribution system.
Doha Emerges as a Vital Intermediary for Washington, Navigating Talks with Iran and the Taliban…reports Asian Lite News
Qatar was instrumental in facilitating talks between the US and the Taliban that culminated in the 2020 Doha Accord and led to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Ongoing mediation efforts in Lebanon, Libya, Chad, Venezuela, and Palestine are also positioning the small Gulf nation as a diplomatic heavyweight with expanding geopolitical influence, as per a recent article published in Middle East Council on Global Affairs.
Mediation has long been a cornerstone of Qatar’s foreign policy – a key strategy by which the country garners outsize prestige within the international system, while hedging its bets and maintaining ties with a wide range of actors.
Doha has made itself indispensable to Washington as a go-between with various states and non-state parties, including Iran and the Taliban, the article said.
This strategy arguably took a hit in 2017 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates imposed a three-and-a-half-year blockade on Qatar, leading the country to temper its efforts abroad even after the blockade ended in 2021.
But its more recent engagements show that Doha can still punch above its weight by mediating conflicts and alleviating tensions in the Middle East and beyond, the article said.
Qatar’s ability to speak to all sides in the current conflict seems to have paid off with the potential release of hostages in Gaza, DW reported.
The announcement of a possible “humanitarian pause” in the Gaza Strip can be considered a triumph for the small Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, the report said.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry put out a statement announcing a four day “pause” during which all sides — the Israeli military, the militant Hamas group and Hezbollah’s armed wing in Lebanon — would agree to stop fighting.
Previously, even Israel’s national security advisor Tzachi Hanegbi had praised Qatar’s role, writing on social media that “Qatar’s diplomatic efforts are crucial at this time”.
But not everyone is so pleased with the small Gulf state. Some commentators said negotiators should have tried harder to secure the release of more hostages. Others argued that because Qatar has been home to Hamas’ political leadership since 2012, it was somehow complicit in Hamas’ attacks, DW reported.
Experts agree that Qatar is walking a fine line when it comes to its foreign policy, playing the “Switzerland of the Middle East” and keeping doors open to all comers.
“Qatar’s role is particularly sensitive because the emirate has been relying on being an intermediary for well over two decades now,” Guido Steinberg, a senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said.
In the past, Qatar has also acted as an interlocutor between the international community and the Taliban in Afghanistan (who also have political offices in Doha), between the US and Iran, and even Russia and Ukraine.
It also hosts the largest US military headquarters in the Middle East, al-Udeid Air Base, which played a significant role in evacuations from Afghanistan in 2021. This led to Qatar being described as ‘major non-NATO ally’, DW reported.
In the recent past, Qatar was spending an estimated $30 million a month on Gaza. But the arguments around this money are yet another example of how fraught Qatar’s role is when it comes to Palestinians and Hamas.
Some have suggested Qatari money subsidizes Hamas’ military wing and is used for nefarious purposes. Hamas has ruled the enclave since 2007 and also manages payments for the civil administration of Gaza, DW reported.
For many years the Qataris have served as a diplomatic bridge between various actors in the region, which, for political reasons, would not be able to easily engage each other in direct talks, The New Arab reported.
This has been evident in many instances, including the West’s engagement with the Taliban, which manifested in the Doha Agreement of 2020, the September 2023 Iran-US prisoner swap, as well as talks in Qatar between factions involved in conflicts in Lebanon and Sudan during the 2000s.
It is no secret that Hamas has a political office in Doha, with the group’s exiled leadership moved to Doha after leaving Damascus in 2012 following Hamas’ falling out with the Syrian regime at the Arab Spring’s outset, The New Arab reported.
Many neo-conservative voices in Washington have lashed out at Qatar for its relationship with the Palestinian group. Yet, an important fact to bear in mind is that it was the US which requested the opening of this Hamas office in the gas-rich emirate.
Qatar has long used Hamas’ status in Doha as a means to serve as an intermediary between the US and Israel, on one side, and Hamas, on the other, The New Arab reported.
Through Qatari backchannels, Hamas and Israel agreed to ceasefires which ended their previous armed conflicts in 2014, 2021, and 2022.
Many countries in the Middle East aspire to the role of mediators – Egypt, Oman and Kuwait among them – but Qatar presents itself as the region’s primary problem solver and advocate of dialogue. It has been active in Ukraine, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan and Gaza, in the process hosting the leadership of the Taliban and the political wing of Hamas among others, The Guardian reported.
Observers say Qatar takes on this role since as a small but fabulously wealthy country built on vast supplies of liquid gas, it needs to make itself indispensable to the international community and be protected from unwelcome interventions by its larger neighbours, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The 2017-2021 boycott of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia showed it has good reasons to be fearful, The Guardian reported.