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Hardline Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka Celebrate Creation of New Buddhist Entity in Ladakh

New Delhi has also been keeping a steady gaze on Sri Lanka where Buddhist, Muslim and Christian factors came into play during the April 21

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Buddhist Monks, Sri Lanka, Ladakh
The projection of Ladakh as purely Buddhist is odd because in the combined population of Kargil and Leh, Muslims are a majority according to the 2011 census. Pixabay

Hardline Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have celebrated the creation of a new Buddhist entity in Ladakh. It is an optical illusion that Jammu and Kashmir has been neatly divided into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, that is, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist entities. The projection of Ladakh as purely Buddhist is odd because in the combined population of Kargil and Leh, Muslims are a majority according to the 2011 census.

New Delhi has also been keeping a steady gaze on Sri Lanka where Buddhist, Muslim and Christian factors came into play during the April 21, Easter Sunday massacre. Indian Intelligence had alerted their counterparts in Colombo as early as April 4 that a major act of terror would be executed in the island nation, possibly near Easter. When the bombs were detonated in Colombo’s churches and hotels killing nearly 300 people and injuring 500 more, Indian Intelligence looked very impressive after the event. Then Intelligence agencies from the US, UK, Israel, Australia, India, all descended on Colombo with state of the art technology. Everyone was out to hold Colombo’s hand. A petrified establishment, it was hoped, would fall into the Western lap. Machinations would then follow to steer Sri Lanka away from the Road and Belt Embrace.

Spanish Anthropologist, Joseba Zulaika’s famous dictum is worrisome: “Counter terrorism is terrorism’s best friend”. Hints of terror cells in South India, the cover up in Sri Lanka, the political turnstile in the Maldives makes this Indian Ocean triangle a source of anxiety.

All the more worrisome because the current phase of terrorism is not just Muslim anger, revenge, vendetta. It has been identified as energy to be harnessed as an asset. It all began with the Afghan Mujahideen in the 80s. Just take a look at what some scholarly investigations in Sri Lanka have found.

Buddhist Monks, Sri Lanka, Ladakh
Hardline Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have celebrated the creation of a new Buddhist entity in Ladakh. Pixabay

Sniffer dogs, making a round of the Hilton hotel found nothing but the hotel staff asked the handlers to examine another branch of the hotel. At this new location something mysterious was experienced. The dogs would not stop barking in front of one room. There was some humming and hawing, and excuses by the management as to why the room could not be opened. It was occupied by employees of the US embassy. According to Dr. Michael Roberts of the University of Adelaide, Australia, when the embassy officials ultimately opened the room, Sri Lankan police found two bomb detectors which, the officials explained, were for their own safety. The overawed Sri Lanka police appears not to have pursued the obvious line of inquiry. Sniffer dogs would bark only if the detectors had been in contact with material which went into the manufacture of bombs.

One complicating factor is the divergent foreign policy preferences of the President, a votary of China’s Belt and Road initiative, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who has exerted every muscle to sign the Status of Forces Agreement which would give the US Military a free run of an island. Note the head on conflict. The Prime Minister is keen that SOFA is signed before the Island’s general elections next year.

There are some tell-tale details. I have earlier mentioned a research paper, “Weaponization of Religion” by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake. According to her, the growing Chinese influence on the island may well have been the target of the Easter attacks.

Not only were hotels targeted which had Chinese affiliations, but the six Chinese who lost their lives were from the South China Institute of Oceanography. Western agencies would not look at this data. They were, quite tellingly, focused only on the clash of civilizations and conflicts across faiths.

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Tibet, Ladakh, Bhutan, Sikkim, Mongolia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, are all bound by Buddhism, though sometimes of distinct Mahayana and Hinayana strands. How many of these would possibly be brought into play in President Donald Trump’s strategy of encircling China?

When Trump entered the White House in 2016, his avowed aim was to upturn everything Barack Obama had ever erected in the arena of foreign affairs, as in other areas. But his demoniacal desire to eradicate Obamaism from its root has run into that constant called American national interest.

The Obama-John Kerry team’s priority became the nuclear deal with Iran, signed in 2015 for a reason: focusing on West Asian affairs on a daily basis was keeping the administration away from other global priorities that required urgent attention – the pivot to Asia, for instance. Despite Israel and Saudi Arabia throwing every monkey wrench at hand into the 5+1 discussions with Iran, the team determinedly concluded the deal with several objectives but one which often goes unnoticed.

Buddhist Monks, Sri Lanka, Ladakh
It is an optical illusion that Jammu and Kashmir has been neatly divided into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Pixabay

Lyndon Johnson’s colourful image was instructive. “It is better to have the camel in the tent, peeing out, than to leave him out peeing in.” Iran was going to be part of West Asian balance of power along with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar. Washington would then have the time to focus on Asia Pacific.

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To be characteristically contrary, Trump walked out of the nuclear deal, made a mess with Europe, North Korea, raised stakes everywhere. But eventually he picked up the thread where Obama had left it: “Pivot to Asia” but only after having soiled much turf enroute. The US support to the protests in Hong Kong, playing up the Taiwan-China differences, shady US behaviour in Sri Lanka, the Economic showdown with Beijing are all part of Trump’s risky, untidy “contain China” movement set by his predecessor. But with Trump you know nothing until you do. Who would have expected him to propose a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani on the margins of the UN General Assembly? Or that he would initiate direct talks with the Houthis in Yemen either with Saudi concurrence or without it, sailing above their heads? Either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be hopping mad at this turn or he will be pleased as punch in case he was in the loop and these leaks are only designed to set up adversaries. Who knows? (IANS)

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What Difference Between Chinese Domination and American Domination?

Chinese government has always been dominant over it's people

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american chinese
Who is more dominant, Chinese government or US government?. Pixabay

By N.S. Venkataraman

Chinese government has not left anybody in doubt, about it’s ambitious target of dominating the world at any cost. Chinese government has been suppressing  freedom of speech in China, taking away the rights of citizens of Hong Kong in authoritarian manner and aggressively occupying the territory of neighbours such as Tibet and part of Indian territory, which it occupied after 1962 Indo Chinese war. China is now claiming Indian province Arunachal Pradesh as it’s own and aggressively claiming territorial right in South China Sea and Senkaku island. Chinese government says that Taiwan is part of it’s territory and objects to any recognition given to Taiwan by any other country.

Further, China is trying to enforce it’s domination over small and weak  nearby  countries  such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and others, by extending loans, which  these countries cannot afford to repay in the foreseeable future.

Viewing China’s methods and targets, one does not find much of difference between today’s Chinese government and Hitler’s Germany. Several countries in the world are  gradually realizing that checking China’s ambition is as necessary, as checking Hitler’s ambition  that caused World War II.

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Chinese government has been suppressing freedom of speech in China. Pixabay

However, the supporters of China claim that US government too should be accused of trying to dominate the world and it has sent troops to several countries such as Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and others to enforce it’s domination. There is an element of  truth in this, as American government seem to think that it has the duty to police the world.

In any case, on careful analysis of the scenario and judiciously comparing the domination desire of China and USA, one cannot but see a subtle difference between both these countries.

While China believes in ruthless elimination of opponents both inside and outside China (just like the way Hitler did) and wants to occupy territories of other countries by coercion or force , US does not indulge in such acts of suppression of human rights or occupying territory of other countries.

US has not concealed it’s desire that freedom of speech and democratic procedures should prevail in all regions in the world. On many occasions , US has fought against totalitarian regimes, religious extremists and terrorist groups and has paid a high price by losing American lives.

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USA desires to dominate the world. Pixabay

USA may have the ambition to dominate the world and ensure it’s authority as super power, but it has no ambition of territorial expansions that China has.

All said and done, if the world were to choose between USA and China, it would inevitably come to the conclusion that world domination by USA is a lesser evil than the world domination by China.

Unlike China, the citizens of USA have the right to criticise the decisions of the government, launch protests against human rights violation, if any and exercise their franchise once in four years to change the party in power, if it would act against the wishes of the people. By such process, the conscience of USA largely remain in tact and US government is vulnerable to the pressure of public opinion, both in USA  and other parts of the world.

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In China, the citizens don’t have the right to criticise the decisions of the government. Pixabay

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On the other hand, China has totalitarian regime and no citizen can survive in China if he would criticise the Chinese President or question the decision of the Chinese government. To this extent, it is dictatorial regime in China, which can be termed as uncivilized form of governance.

The fact is that USA has been remaining as super  power in the world for several decades now and  the world has not  become worse due to the dominating power of USA. Of course, there have been criticism against US government by some section of world opinion but  most of such critics belong to religious extremist groups  and motivated  leftist (communist) forces , whose economic  and administrative policies  have totally failed to deliver the goods.

Achieving super power status by China   and establishing it’s authority in large parts of the world with least consideration for value systems and sentiments of people, is the worst thing that can happen to the world civilization.

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Top 3 Travel Destinations in Asia For Solo Women Travellers

Unique Asian destinations for solo female travellers

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Women travel
While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you're properly prepared. Pixabay

In recent years, the number of women embarking on solo adventures has skyrocketed — a fact corroborated by the data of many travel companies — and in many cases, to less-frequented destinations. Indeed, navigating new cities and learning to handle hustlers without a companion or ‘safety in numbers’ can be incredibly empowering for women. Right off the bat, travelling alone is the ultimate confidence boost and the freedom to plan ones own travel itinerary without having to accommodate anyone else is liberating.

For first-timers, travelling alone can seem like a daunting prospect, but with some research, planning and common sense, it could become a life-changing experience. While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you’re properly prepared. Here are top picks by ONYX Hospitality Group of unique destinations in Asia for women to explore solo.

Women travel
Malaysia is a very safe travel destination for women. Pixabay

Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka

Spend a few days in Colombo, a busy and vibrant port city, to experience the laid-back charm of the historical era combined with the liveliness of a modern city. Those looking for a more peaceful environment can head for Kandy. Once the capital of the ancient kings, Kandy remains the country’s most significant cultural and religious centre. Visit the tea plantations, pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic and go trekking into the misty hills where you can take a deep breath and reconnect with yourself and nature.

Phuket, Thailand

Famously dubbed as the island of contrasts, Phuket is a great destination for solo female travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. From relaxing, feet-in-the-sand detox and laid-back beachside cafes, to adrenaline-fuelled activities and vibrant nightlife, this tropical paradise has it all. Start by exploring the spectacular stretch of gorgeous beaches along the island’s West coast where time goes slow and sunshine seems to last forever, before switching it up with a tuk tuk ride to the east coast for some cafe-hopping and bar-crawling with the local crowds.

Travelling around Phuket is surprisingly easy. You can either hop on a tuk tuk, grab a taxi or even rent a motorbike and helmet and zoom down the hills with the view of the turquoise sea stretching out before you.

Women travel
Phuket is a great destination for solo women travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. Pixabay

Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket, Kata is a paradise waiting for people to visit and fall in love. White sand, blue sea and endless activities are just a few of the things that make Kata beach so special. Meanwhile, a walk through the local area can add a lively touch of Thai culture to any holiday.

Penang, Malaysia

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is a truly fascinating destination with its colourful five-foot-ways, mouth-watering street food, lush hiking trails and sandy beaches. Declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, George Town, the island’s cultural and urban hub, is brimming with architectural marvels from the British colonial period, timeworn shophouses, modern cafes and temples. Feast on local delicacies such as Assam Laksa or Char Kway Teow from hawker stands before walking the guilt off while exploring the world-famous mural trails.

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Feeling overwhelmed by the paddling trishaws and fuming fragrant? One only needs to take a short bus ride away from town for a stroll along the beaches, a visit to the Tropical Spice Garden or the picturesque Penang Hill. (IANS)

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Sri Lanka to Raise Funds for Children Affected by Easter Sunday Attacks

Sri Lanka's Attorney General's Department has held an event in capital Colombo to raise funds for children affected by the Easter Sunday attacks in April

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Sri Lanka, Children, Easter
He said terrorism had affected the entire region and called for more coordinated efforts to tackle the issue. Flickr

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General’s Department has held an event in capital Colombo to raise funds for children affected by the Easter Sunday attacks in April, which claimed 250 lives. Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, Children, Easter
Speaking at the event on Saturday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that all those involved in the attacks had been killed or apprehended and the government was drafting new legislations against extremists. Pixabay

Speaking at the event on Saturday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that all those involved in the attacks had been killed or apprehended and the government was drafting new legislations against extremists and terrorists, Xinhua news agency reported.

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He said terrorism had affected the entire region and called for more coordinated efforts to tackle the issue. (IANS)

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