December 14 was a “deadline” set by Indian farmers who protested the reform of the agricultural law. Prior to this, the Indian Party Central Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had started at least six rounds of negotiations with peasant groups and still could not reach a consensus.
In the face of protests, the Modi government recently stated that it is willing to amend the content of the bill, but will not withdraw the bill. In this regard, the farmers’ groups denounced the government’s remarks as “insults” and escalated their actions on the 14th, continuing to demand that the government withdraw the bill.
According to the Indian news website The Wire reported on the 14th, highways leading to the capital Delhi area have been blocked one by one by angry farmer groups. With the end of the election of Panchayat (local elder) in Rajasthan, the fifth highway to Delhi was also blocked. According to Reuters, the protest leaders launched a one-day hunger strike on the same day.
According to a report from “India Today” on the 14th, farmers protest leader Rakesh Takait said that the protest was a success that day and farmers will not retreat. In addition to the farmers at stake, the main opposition party, the Congress Party, and about 15 other political groups also supported the protests and jointly exerted pressure on the government.
According to media reports such as the Press Trust of India (PTI), the Indian Lotus Medal and Arjuna Sports Medal winners, well-known wrestler Kartar Singh and other well-known athletes have voluntarily refunded them in order to show their support for the protesting farmers. The government awards itself.
The protest is related to the three agricultural laws passed by the Modi government this year. On September 20, the Federal House (Upper House) of the Indian Parliament passed the “Agricultural Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020” and the “2020 Farmers (Authorization and Protection) Price Assurance Agreement and Agricultural Services Act”, plus the previously passed The Basic Commodities (Amendment) Act of 2020. These laws loosen the control of crop prices. Farmers say this will harm their livelihoods, saying they will only benefit large companies and leave farmers at the mercy of large companies. The government emphasized that the reform of the agricultural law can bring more opportunities and income to farmers.
Massive peasant protests broke out on November 26 and continue to this day. The protesting farmers came from important agricultural provinces such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan.
The Wire published an article that pointed out that the government issued a decree during the epidemic lockdown period (assault) to turn a deaf ear to farmers’ protests against the new agricultural law for several weeks. It also set up roadblocks to hinder the progress of the protest team and tried to control the protest leader. These actions made farmers feel The anger strengthened their determination to oppose the new agricultural law.
Many foreign media reported that this protest was the biggest challenge facing Modi’s government after its 2019 election victory. “India Today” reported on December 15 that on the 14th, the Federal Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar told the media that the government is ready to start with farmers on the new agricultural law. Discuss one by one”.
According to the Associated Press report on the 14th, farmers’ protest leaders threatened that if the government does not withdraw the new farm bill, they will continue to escalate their actions and may even block trains and railways in the next few days.
A large-scale fire broke out in the training ground of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and the US military was training nearby at the time of the incident
According to Japanese TV Asahi, a large-scale fire broke out in the North Fuji training ground of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on the evening of the 4th. The US military was holding shooting training nearby at the time of the incident.
The fire broke out at about 4:30 in the evening on the 4th. The incident occurred at the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force training ground across Fujiyoshida City and Yamanakako Village in Yamanashi County. At that time, thick smoke erupted, and then the fire spread widely in the shape of “one”, causing a large-scale fire.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces continued to put out the fire, and the fire basically subsided late at night. At the time of the incident, nearby US troops were conducting howitzer shooting training. No one was injured in the fire, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy is trying to contact Myanmar leaders
On February 1, Myanmar changed. Following the UN Secretary-General Guterres’s “strong condemnation” of the Myanmar military’s detention of Myanmar’s Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a regular press conference, The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar and Swiss diplomat Christine Burgener is trying to contact government officials in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, but communication has not been restored.
“Birgner is actively interacting with this issue,” Dujarik said at a press conference. “She has consulted with dialogue parties outside Myanmar and is trying to get in touch with the Myanmar government. However, currently, Communication in the capital is very difficult.”
Bilgna has served as the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar since 2018. In addition to her, the UN Myanmar team in Yangon was also unable to obtain information about the situation, and other UN agencies in New York also failed to obtain the opportunity to communicate with the Myanmar government in Naypyidaw.
Dujarik added that the personnel sent by the United Nations to Myanmar are paying close attention to the development of the situation to ensure that vulnerable groups in Myanmar will not suffer too much from the incident as the epidemic spreads. He said that the most important thing for Myanmar at present is that the international community can “speak with one voice.”
“What we know is that the will of the people of Myanmar has been overthrown in an undemocratic way,” Dujarik said. “This situation must be changed and the will of the people must be respected.”
Faced with the uncertain status of Myanmar, the United Kingdom, the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, will hold a meeting to discuss the current situation in Myanmar on the morning of February 2nd Eastern Time. Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations, expressed the hope that the members of the Security Council can conduct “constructive discussions” on the form of Myanmar at the meeting.
According to news from Agence France-Presse on the 1st, the meeting will be conducted via video and will not be made public. The Special Envoy for Myanmar, Birgner, will brief the Security Council on the latest development of the incident.
On February 1, Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese President Win Myint were detained by the military. A Burmese woman accidentally recorded a military vehicle driving towards the parliament. At around 8 am on the same day, the Myanmar military declared a state of emergency in Myanmar. According to the United Nations News Network, many newly-elected parliamentarians are currently under house arrest, the streets of the city are heavily guarded, and wireless network devices such as mobile phones are almost completely interrupted.
In response to this matter, in an interview on February 1, the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called on the international community to take “decisive action”, including “strong and targeted sanctions and Arms embargo”. In addition, he stated that he should “unconditionally release all detained persons and resume communications” and end this “horrifying illegal act”.
The U.S. finally identified the ‘Myanmar coup’ and mentioned China
In the face of the sudden change in the political situation in Myanmar on the 1st, the US’s statement changed from “shock” to “call for release” to “threat of sanctions.” Although the wording has become stronger and stronger, the United States has never used the term “coup”.
On the afternoon of the 2nd, the wording of the Biden administration finally changed. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at his first press conference after taking office that the United States, after examining all the facts, determined that the military action of the Myanmar military on February 1 constituted a military coup. He specifically mentioned that this military coup is not in the interests of the United States and “nor is it in the interests of China.”
According to the US “Foreign Aid Act”, if a country has a “military coup” or any act that “deposes a democratically elected head of government” through a government order, the United States must limit its aid to that country.
However, a reporter mentioned at the press conference that when the Egyptian political turmoil occurred in 2013, the Obama administration took three weeks to decide whether to define the Egyptian incident as a coup. In this Myanmar incident, the Biden administration basically made a decision in less than a day. The reporter asked about this, why is this government able to make a decision so quickly that the Myanmar incident meets the criteria for a coup?
In this regard, Price said that this case is “very clear”, “We are based on the judgment that (Myanmar) deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Min in the military coup on February 1.”
“The’State Council, Foreign Operations and Related Projects’ appropriation bill contain a recurring clause that restricts certain aid to the military. Let’s take a look at three criteria… the officially elected head of government (first), Was deposed by a military coup or decree (second), in which the army played a decisive role (third),” Price added. These are the three standards that the State Council has been paying attention to. What happened in Myanmar on February 1 A coup, so we acted quickly.
He said: “This military coup is obviously not in our (U.S.) interests, and certainly not in the interests of our like-minded partners (countries). I think you will also find that this is not in China’s interests.”
But when asked if the US side had any communication with China, Price did not answer directly. He said: “I don’t have a specific dialogue to talk about. Once again, our focus is on our allies who share our interests.”
In addition, Price also mentioned the specific amount of bilateral aid provided by the United States to Myanmar in the fiscal year 2020-$135 million. “I must say that only a small part of this aid is for the Myanmar government.”
CNN quoted a U.S. State Department official as saying that the U.S. direct foreign aid to the Myanmar government was “very little.” “The Myanmar government, including the Myanmar military, has been subject to some foreign aid restrictions, including due to its Legal restrictions on military assistance caused by human rights records”.
The official said that the U.S. government will start the review “immediately”, “The review includes projects that indirectly benefit the military or low-level officers.” “At the same time, we will continue to implement projects that directly benefit the people of Myanmar, including humanitarian assistance. And democratic support projects that benefit civil society.”