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Open newsletter – April 21, 2022 p.m.






  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. A powerful explosion has ripped through a Shia mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, causing dozens of casualties, according to officials. (read more)

Afghanistan – Pakistan

  • April 21. By  uch like every other morning last week, 25-year-old Peer Jannat religiously woke up at 2.30am on April 16 to prepare for Sehri (Suhoor) – a pre-dawn meal Muslims consume ahead of their daily fasts in the holy month of Ramadan. “Just as we were sitting down, we heard sounds of drones followed by sounds of jets … seconds later we heard an explosion. They [Pakistan military] were bombing us,” Jannat, a resident of Afghan-Dubai [the name is a reference to the many families that often send members to the Gulf nation for work] in Khost, an Afghan province that lies along the border with Pakistan, told Al Jazeera. (read more)


  • April 21. By Global Times. The US and its allies have used every means, ranging from staging a walkout during a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies to launching new financial sanctions, in a bid to increase pressure on Russia, while continuing to throw mud at China despite the latter’s repeated announcement of neutrality on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. (read more)
  • April 21. By Liu Xin, Global Times. China has ratified two international conventions against forced labor, the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957. Analysts said that those who use the event to hype forced labor allegations in China’s Xinjiang region purposely turn a blind eye to China’s decades-long preparations to join the conventions. (read more)
  • April 21. By Chu Daye, Zhao Juecheng, Liu Xin, Global Times. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a global security initiative which stressed a commitment to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and to reject a Cold War mentality, group politics and bloc confrontation while delivering a keynote speech via video link at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 in South China’s Hainan Province on Thursday.  (read more)
  • April 21. By Sophie Richardson, HRW. Chinese authorities executed Akhmal Shaikh​, a United Kingdom citizen, without giving him access to UK diplomats or doctors, in December 2009. The following year, Chinese officials indicated to the Philippines that, if its diplomats stayed away from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honouring Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo​, Beijing would consider sparing the lives of three Philippine citizens facing the death penalty. Manila obliged, but Beijing did not: the three were executed in March 2011. (read more)

Colombia – Nicaragua

  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Colombia must “immediately cease” patrolling and trying to control fishing activities and maritime research in parts of the western Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua. The judges at the United Nations’ top court in The Hague said on Thursday the waters are within Nicaragua’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in a ruling that caps decades of dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia over maritime borders. (read more)


  • April 21. By Ayah Aman, Al Monitor. The Egyptian government has been holding meetings to discuss directing foreign investments, especially from the Gulf. Despite the likely relief brought by the return of Qatari investments to the Egyptian market, it remains unclear where they will be directed and how these funds will alleviate pressure on the economy. (read more)

Guinea Bissau

  • April 21. By Bram Posthumus, Al Jazeera. April has always been a significant month in Guinea Bissau’s political calendar. In April 1974, soldiers in Portugal began the Carnation Revolution, which ended the war its reluctant army had been waging against independence fighters in five of its colonies, including Guinea Bissau. (read more)


  • April 21. By  Mainomoti Soren, a 42-year-old farmer in Dewanganj village in eastern India, was one of at least 100 women who clashed with supporters of a political rally in her village over the government’s attempts to buy her land to mine the coal buried there. As the police beat the protesters with sticks last December, Soren, who was two months pregnant at the time, felt blood oozing down her legs and she fainted. Villagers rushed her on a motorcycle to a hospital but she had already lost the baby. (read more)

India – Pakistan

  • April 21. By Samir Ahmad, ORF. Within hours after Shehbaz Sharif took over as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, political commentators speculated about the revival of India–Pakistan diplomatic relations, starting with restoring the diplomatic offices by reinstating high commissioners in each other’s countries. Lest we forget, in August 2019, immediately after the Government of India led by Narendra Modi abolished Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories, the diplomatic ties between the two neighbours were suspended after Pakistan decided to downgrade its diplomatic relations with India. Consequently, relations between the two neighbours have been at a historic low. (read more)

Iran – Yemen

  • April 21. By Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera. As Saudi Arabia continues to play a key role in influencing neighbouring Yemen’s political future, the kingdom’s main regional rival, Iran, has maintained its place on the other side of the equation. In Yemen’s devastating seven-year war, Iran has supported the Houthi rebels, who took parts of the country in 2014 and began fighting a Saudi-led coalition in 2015. Tehran denies arming the Houthis, despite claims from the United Nations and others, while the Houthis say their drones and missiles are domestically made. (read more)

Israel – Palestine

  • April 21. By Eric Goldstein, HRW. On April 14, 2002, Israel’s cabinet approved construction of a “separation barrier,” ostensibly to halt a wave of deadly attacks inside Israel by Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. (read more)
  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. The Damascus Gate, or Bab al-Amud – as it is known in Arabic, has re-emerged as a flashpoint between Palestinians and Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem. Since the start of Ramadan on April 2, Israeli forces, including undercover units, have assaulted and arrested Palestinian residents in the Damascus Gate area on an almost daily basis. Hundreds of others were arrested from Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (read more)


  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) armed group has claimed responsibility for an explosion that it said killed or injured 30 people at a market where alcohol was sold in Nigeria’s Taraba state, marking an expansion of the area where the ISIL affiliate operates in the country. The explosion took place on Tuesday in the rural town of Iware and local police initially said three people were killed and 19 injured. They could not immediately be reached on Thursday to comment on the ISWAP claim or casualty count. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine (impact, reactions, consequences)

  • April 21. By Seema Sirohi, ORF. The ongoing war in Ukraine is pushing the world back to a bipolar world order with former rivals rebooting for a prolonged standoff. The new round of competition will create second-and third-order effects and increasingly force unpleasant choices on countries like India. (read more)
  • April 21. By Global Times. China has always been opposed to unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that have no basis in international law, and opposes improper prohibition or restriction of Chinese enterprises from engaging in normal economic and trade activities, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, commenting on the US government which said it doesn’t want China to provide military support to Russia. (read more)
  • April 21. By HRW. Russian forces committed a litany of apparent war crimes during their occupation of Bucha, a town about 30 kilometers northwest of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, from March 4 to 31, 2022, Human Rights Watch said in a detailed report released today. (read more)
  • April 20. By Valerie Insinna, Breaking Defense. The US military’s electronic warfare enterprise needs to take a page from SpaceX when it comes to responding to new threats, the Pentagon’s director for electromagnetic warfare said today. (read more)
  • April 20. By , Breaking Defense. US federal agencies, allied cyber authorities and industry today released their most stark warning yet that Russian cyber attacks are likely to increase against both private industry and public infrastructure targets, as the war in Ukraine enters its 56th day. (read more)
  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. Russia says it has “liberated” the strategic port city of Mariupol, apart from the sprawling Azovstal steel plant which Ukrainian forces have made their last stronghold. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian forces and hundreds of civilians have been holed up, was “securely blocked” while the rest of the city was “liberated”, which Putin hailed as “success”, according to The Associated Press news agency. (read more)

Sri Lanka

  • April 21. By  Agnes Felician wears a sombre black dress, a simple silver cross her only adornment, as she joins the tail end of a group of Catholic protesters at Colombo’s iconic seafront protest venue, now dubbed “Gota Go Gama” (Gota Go Home Village). Felician, 41, is among thousands of Sri Lankan protesters who have congregated daily since April 9 to demand President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, holding him responsible for the worst economic crisis the island nation is facing since its independence from Britain in 1948. (read more)

UK – India

  • April 21. By Vivek Mishra, ORF. The announcement of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India on 21–22 April comes as a significant development, in the least because the visit comes on the back of two previous postponements. (read more)


  • April 21. By Liu Xuanzun, Global Times. Shortly before its 73rd founding anniversary on Saturday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy announced on Thursday for the first time the commissioning of its second Type 075 amphibious assault ship and its sixth Type 055 large destroyer, as they have already started training exercises. (read more)
  • April 21. By Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defense News. About half of India’s offset obligations, which are worth $13.52 billion across a set of 57 contracts, have resulted in either penalties or the threat of them, Defence Ministry officials told Defense News. The government has imposed penalties on several original equipment manufacturers from 2013 to 2021 for defaulting on their offset obligations, potentially deterring foreign defense companies from seeking business in the country. (read more)
  • April 21. By Elaine McCusker, Breaking Defense. As the Defense Department prepares to release its detailed fiscal year 2023 budget justifications, including additional program descriptions for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), policymakers will want to know what is included to stand up to the China threat and, most importantly, is it enough? The short answer: The defense investment to counter China is much broader than PDI, an incomplete metric at best. (read more)
  • April 21. By Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense. Remote sensing firm Planet recently unveiled new details on its newest satellite constellation, called Pelican, which the company says will bring customers high-resolution pictures and the ability to take them more often over the same place on Earth. (read more)