The Global Politics Podcast Series is a brand new initiative of the Global Politics Team at the National Institute of Advanced Studies which aims to reach out to a varied audience. It touches upon major contemporary issues and issues related to major conflicts, explaining them in under six minutes.

The Podcast is an effective method to remain updated on major developments in the field International Relations, Conflict Studies and Peace Research. The series will showcase the recent developments from around the world, its political, economic and social impacts on countries and sheds light on the future prospects.

Episode 229: Ceasefire in Yemen

The warring parties of Yemen agreed to an UN-mediated ceasefire on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan. It is the first nationwide ceasefire attempted since 2016

Episode 227: Russia’s Battle for Mariupol

A brief look at the Russian objectives, strategies that it has undertaken to control Mariupol and the major hindrances that it likely needs to evade to operationalize its goals in the region.

Episode 225: 30 days of War in Ukraine

30 days of the war in Ukraine brings out the unrealistic promises of international powers, Russia's shift in war tactics, and Russia's threat to Eastern Europe

Episode 224: The G7 Summit

The issues discussed in the G7 Summit were Ukraine beyond the trans-Atlantic, four-way defence, securitizing from the Baltic to the Black Sea, conflict de-escalation, and commitment to NATO policy.

Episode 221: EU’s Versailles Declaration on Ukraine

Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, EU leaders met at the Palace of Versailles in France for an emergency meeting. The two-day summit, hosted by France, concluded with the EU leaders adopting a declaration on the Russian aggression against Ukraine and measures to be more self-reliant.

Episode 219: The Two Sessions in China

From 5th to 10th March, China held its two most important political events: the fifth session of the 13th National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Episode 217: Taliban meetings in Oslo

The Taliban delegation led by acting FM met with Western envoys and representatives of Afghan civil society and Afghan women's right in Oslo to discuss the situation in Afghanistan among others.

Episode 215: The Global hunger report

World Food programme and Food and Agricultural Organization release hunger hotspots outlook for February-May 2022. Of the 20 hotspots, 16 are in Africa

Episode 214: The One Ocean summit in France

The One Ocean Summit joint initiative is seen as a success in the short term as it brings out the unaddressed problems of the ocean and marine biodiversity.

Episode 212: Syrian trial in Germany

Syria’s former Colonel Anwar Raslan was convicted by a German court under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction. Lets look at the implications of the conviction in a broader sense.

Episode 211: De-escalation over Ukraine

The leaders of the US, France, German, Poland, Ukraine and Russia held meetings over the rise of the Wiemar triangle, with Macron as a diplomat and the EU’s reinvigorated role in the Ukraine crisis.

Episode 210: Return of the Normandy Format on Ukraine

France and Germany's renewed attempts to negotiate with Russia under the Normandy format show their tactical approach. Which has allowed Ukraine and Russia to present its views without the intrusion of any other powers.

Episode 209: Coup in Burkina Faso

Burkina faso, one of the poorest countriws in the world ridden with internal conflicts and islamist insurgency is the latest among the countries in the region to witness a military takeover. This marks the disintegration of democracy and will test the will and capacity of regional organizations to retain normalcy and a democratic setup in the country.

Episode 208: Protests in France

The protests in France shows the growing aggression amongst the protestors which has pushed the State into a dilemma. It has to only two choices, either to arrest the infection spread or to address the unrest.

Episode 206: Tensions in Mali

After the junta proposed an extension of the transitional period, the ECOWAS decided to impose sweeping sanctions on Mali, placing the junta in a fix.

Episode 205: Russian and Chinese approaches to Kazakhstan

The unrest in Kazakhstan that was sparked by fuel prices has brought in regional and external players, particularly the Russia and China who seek to exert their influence in the region for economic and security reasons.

Episode 195: Another political turmoil in Tunisia

Political instability in Tunisia has worsened as President Kais Saied announced that he will rule by decree and have the constitution partially suspended. With a resenting opposition that appears to be uniting against a common foe, Tunisia's future looks uncertain and with chances of the achievements of the Arab spring being undone.

Episode 194: Elections in Canada

The episode looks at the status quo of the elections in Canada and the larger debate of the PM holding the snap elections as a reflection of using controversial power.

Episode 193: New SpaceX Mission

The Inspiration4 mission portrays three important successes; a diverse crew with minimal training; a clever strategy to raise funds; sustainable use of technology in outer space by launching a reused rocket and capsule.

Episode 192: The AUKUS pact

On 15 September, a new security alliance called AUKUS was launched by the US, the UK and Australia to tackle shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The main highlight, however, was the US and the UK committing themselves to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. What is AUKUS? What are nuclear-powered submarines? Why is France unhappy?

Episode 191: Jail term for Hotel Rwanda hero

Paul Rusasabegina, a popular heroic figure from Rwanda, who asceneded to popularity after the release of the movie, 'Hotel Rwanda' has been sentenced 25 years of imprisonment under terrorism and related offenses. Fair trial, political intolerance and credibility are under concern.

Episode 189: Impending humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

The United Nations has warned of a mass humanitarian crisis with millions of Afghans posed to run out of food before the arrival of winter, while the donor countries pledge one billion dollars in aid for the war-torn country.

Episode 188: Protests in Brazil

Brazil was rocked by protests as hundreds marched in cities across the country protesting against the Bolsonaro regime and demanding his resignation. Coming amid the declining popularity of Bolsonaro and increasing domestic polarisation, the protests have further complicated the domestic scenario in the run-up to 2022 elections. I'd now invite Lokendra Sharma, who's a PhD scholar at NIAS, to talk about this in detail.

Episode 187: The coup in Guinea

After Alpha Conde's win of a controversial third term in 2020, and growing unrest among the public, the military decided to take matters in their own hands and on 5 September, Conde was ousted by a group of soldiers he had previously formed for his protection

Episode 186: The Taliban government

The Taliban announces its interim government after it claims control of Panjshir, however, the resistance forces disputed that claim, stating that its forces are still positioned strategically across the Panjshir Valley and maintained that they would fight.

Episode 184: Texas' abortion ban

While a recent Texas Law banned abortion in the US, Mexico consequently de-criminalized abortions. Both these judgments have a huge impact on the civic and women's rights movement and the historic struggle and realization of women's and/or any gender's struggle to avail abortion services and the consequences of such laws passed.

Episode 183: Paris terror trial

The trial for those accused in the 2015 terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead and 350 injured began in Paris.

Episode 182: Hurricane Ida in the US

Hurricane Ida, a category 4 hurricane landed at the US Gulf Coast causing major infrastructural damage. It underwent a rapid intensification of 65 miles per hour which can be attributed to the abnormal warming of the oceans.

Episode 181: The Houthi violence in Yemen

The confrontations between the Arab coalition and Houthis are a frequent occurrence. While the Houthis have launched attacks on Saudi Arabia and its assets, the latter has responded by intercepting drones and missiles.

Episode 179: Kamala Harris' visit to Southeast Asia

With the US Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Southeast Asia, there seems to be a new avenue that has opened amongst the member countries with a renewed hope for strengthening ties.

Episode 178: The fall of the Afghan State

The US set 31 August at the deadline to withdraw from their longest ongoing unwinnable war in Afghanistan. The international community and their response to the Taliban offensive have been meek with no definite step taken by the international organizations.

Episode 176: New tensions in South China Sea

On 2 August, German Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern (Bavaria) the warship was deployed to the South China Sea from Wilhelmshaven on a six-month voyage. Germany has sent its warship for the first time in almost two decades; it is expected to cross the South China Sea in mid-December.

Episode 173: Taliban’s friendly neighbourhood

The Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan has been beneficial to few countries. China is, however, making the best use of the political situation. China has much to gain from the economic assets of Afghanistan and less to lose from the rebels running the country.

Episode 172: The rise of the Delta variant

According to the WHO, the Delta variant is the most transmissible variant of the coronavirus. In early August 2021, the world recorded a total of 200 million cases. While the first 100 million cases took a year to reach, the next 100 million cases were reported in about six months.

Episode 170: The ASEAN envoy to Myanmar

The move from the ASEAN proves that some amount of efforts are being taken from the countries in the Southeast Asian region to assist in settling down the chaotic political situation in Myanmar.

Episode 167: Chaotic evacuation in Kabul

There are chaotic scenes outside the Kabul airport as the evacuation process continues with threats of terror attacks and Taliban's warning against the evacuation deadline.

Episode 163: Protests return to Thailand

Thailand is seeing another surge of protests, this time attributed to the government's failure to control the spread of pandemic and assist in the process of economic recovery.

Episode 162: The appointment of new PM in Lebanon

Lebanon is undergoing a deep socio-politico-economic crisis. Najeeb Mikati is touted to form a government in the time of such an extreme crisis and is expected to take along the diverging political interests.

Episode 161: Six months of military rule in Myanmar

Even after six months of military rule, the current regime is characterized by repression, divided responses over the situation and the tackling of ongoing internal disturbances in Myanmar.

Episode 156: Olympics in Japan

The episode sheds light on the multiple controversies that overshadow the Tokyo Olympics 2020. There has been strong public opposition against the games because of the spike it may cause in the Covid-19 cases. In a survey released in May, 83 per cent of the people did not want Japan to conduct the Olympics.

Episode 155: Floods in India and China

Torrential rains wreck havoc in China and India as authorities grapple with inadequate mitigation strategies and crumbling facilities. The rising monsoon crisis is placing a strain on food, farming and the economy annually.

Episode 154: Remembering the Srebrenica massacre

On 11 July, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered in thousands to commemorate the 1995 Srebrenica massacre; the day the killing began. They also reburied 19 newly identified victims whose remains were found in mass graves and recently identified through DNA analysis.

Episode 153: Another COVID origin probe

On 22 July, Chinese officials rejected the WHO's proposal for second phase research of Covid-19 origin. Zeng Yixin, Deputy head of China's National Health Commission said: "I feel disrespect for common sense and the arrogant attitude toward science revealed in this plan...we cannot accept this kind of plan for origin-tracing."

Episode 152: The Nord Stream-2

The episode explores the agreements, disagreements and controversies related to the Nord Stream-2 pipeline system in light of the latest US-Germany joint statement.

Episode 150: The US Juneteenth

The episode talks about the declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, a step in the right direction toward ensuring racial equality but there's still a long way to go.

Episode 149: China's control of tech giants

On 9 July, Beijing authorities ordered the removal of 25 more apps operated by Didi Global Inc, which provides ride-hailing and related online services. On 7 July, China's antitrust authority imposed fines on Didi and another tech for failing to report their merger deals in advance. The regulator also stopped Didi from adding new users.

Episode 148: Tunisia's new political crisis

On 25 July, several cities in Tunisia witnessed multiple clashes between the protestors and police. The young crowds shouted "get out" demanding the government to step down. The protestors cited the government's negligence in handling the recent spike of Covid-19 cases and the economic and social turmoil.

Episode 147: Canada's burning churches

On 19 July, a Coptic Orthodox church burned to the ground in British Columbia, as the burning of churches continues in Canada following the recent discovery of graves of indigenous children. According to Toronto Sun reports, more than 50 churches were vandalized, and five Catholic churches were razed during the last few weeks.

Episode 146: Anti-extremism bill in France

On 23 July, the French Parliament passed the bill strengthening the government's role to check mosques and other religious organizations as part of its fight to prevent Islamic radicalism and defend the republic. The 'Law Reinforcing Respect of the Principles of the Republic' was passed by the National Assembly with 49 votes in favour, against 19.

Episode 145: Floods in Germany

On 18 July, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Schuld, one of the two regions hardest hit by extreme rainfall in Western Germany, said, the number of such extreme weather events had increased in recent years, adding, "we have to up the pace in the fight against climate change."

Episode 144: Wildfires in Siberia

On 19 July, the Siberian city of Yakutsk temporarily closed the airport due to heavy smoke and wildfires. Yakutia's governor said: "The situation with wildfires in our republic is very difficult. I repeat that we are experiencing the driest summer in the past 150 years in Yakutia, and the month of June was the hottest on record. This, together with the dry thunderstorms that occur nearly daily in our republic, brought about significant wildfires."

Episode 143: The Pegasus Spyware

On 18 July, a document of the investigation by Paris-based Forbidden Stories, Amnesty International and a consortium of international news outlets was published. The study was based on a list with thousands of phone numbers of over 1000 prominent persons from over 50 countries across the globe.

Episode 142: Political crises in Lebanon

On 15 July, Lebanon Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri stepped down after failing to form a government over the past eight months. Hariri resigned, following a brief meeting with President Aoun at Baabda Palace.

Episode 141: SCO meet on Afghanistan

The SCO Summit called for an end to violence in Afghanistan. On 14 July, foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states held the fourth meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Episode 139: Pro-Zuma protests in South Africa

The arrest of Jacob Zuma triggered violence across South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the protesters to calm down, saying "there can never be any justification for such violent destruction and disruptive actions."

Episode 138: Anti-government protests in Cuba

COVID economy and structural issues trigger anti-government protests in Cuba. Thousands of Cubans marched in Havana and Santiago against the communist government led by President Diaz-Canel.

Episode 137: Political crisis in Haiti

In the wake of the President’s assassination, Haiti continues to grapple with deteriorating political, economic and social conditions.

Episode 136: Protests in Colombia

On 1 July, Colombia's President Ivan Duque said that he plans to present a new law to Congress which will introduce stringent measures to curb vandalism, roadblocks and attacks on police.

Episode 135: Taliban offensive in Afghanistan

On 2 July, the US military left the Bagram Airfield, the biggest and last base in Afghanistan. The airfield was handed over to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), effectively ending major US military operations after nearly two decades.

Episode 132: World Drug Report

The World Drug Report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has done more than merely present facts on the number of drug users worldwide. It shows us how the pandemic has accelerated the global drug problem and recommends solutions to stop it as well.

Episode 131: China's response to the G7 and NATO

The G7 and NATO summits are confirming speculations of the "Chinese threat" to the west. Although the summits call for greater usage of diplomacy, it is yet to be observed on the China front. Amidst concerns of the threat, China responds sternly to "small groups that do not rule the world."

Episode 127: EU Council Meeting

The EU council meeting discusses migration, LGBTQ rights, COVID-19, relations with Russia and the EU's Next-generation economic recovery plan.

Episode 125: UN resolution on Myanmar

On 18th June, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution expressing their concerns regarding the situation in Myanmar. The majority of 119 countries that voted in favour, signifies the overwhelming global consensus on the issue.

Episode 123: Elections in Iran

Despite heavy criticism from the international community, Iran went ahead with its Presidential elections on the 18th of June. The election had the worst voter turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history at a mere 48.8 per cent

Episode 121: Elections in Peru

The elections in Peru seems to follow a pattern of struggle between the left and the right. A similar pattern is also visible in most Latin American countries.

Episode 120: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial

With the beginning of The Aung San Suu Kyi trial, Myanmar seems to lose it's grip over democracy and expects a prolonged rule of the military junta in the near future.

Episode 119: IPC report on Tigray, Ethiopia

The recent IPC report on the Northern Tigray has become a theme for much dialogue in various international platforms. This has left sever scars in the Abey Ahmed administration’s reputation at global level. The report sheds light upon increasing threat of ‘famine’ and food insecurity and holds the Ethiopian government responsible for the existent situation.

Episode 118: ILO-UNICEF Report on child labour

On 12 June, countries observed World Day Against Child Labour marking the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. According to the report, over 160 million children, one in ten, are engaged in labour.

Episode 117: France's Sahel exit

The French President Emmanuel Macron announced his decision to scale down the military presence in Sahel region. The 'profound transformation' aims to initiate counter terrorism with better regional and international cooperation.

Episode 116: China's new anti-foreign sanctions law

The new Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law passed by China is a legal toolkit to arm the Chinese government against foreign pressure. Measures like cancellation of visa, denial of entry, freezing assets, and even deporting out of the country are provided through the law.

Episode 115: Burkina Faso massacre

The BBC cited AFP and reported that at least 160 people had been killed in a spate of attacks in northern Burkina Faso on 5 June.

Episode 114: The G7 Summit

The 47th G7 summit hosted by the UK saw a focus on pandemic recovery and climate action among other issues affecting the world.

Episode 111: Denmark on relocating refugee camps

Denmark recently passed a new legislation to relocate refugees outside Europe. The controversial legislation has been criticised for its unfairness and will have immense consequences for refugees entering Europe.

Episode 110: Russia's Belarus embrace

As the Western countries proceed to sanction and impose bans, Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his hand to support Europe's so called last dictator.

Episode 109: Israel’s opposition under Yair Lapid

The government is formed of eight member coalition of right wing, leftist and centrist parties with a thin majority in a bid to end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 year run as PM of Israel.

Episode 107: The US ban on investments in China

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that bans U.S. entities from investing in Chinese companies with alleged ties to defense or surveillance technology sectors.

Episode 106: China's Three Child policy

After its census, China is now attempting to address the shrinking workforce and high ageing population. China has allowed having three children per couple and promises to launch supporting measures as well.

Episode 105: The controversial election in Syria

Syria conducted its Presidential elections recently, and President Assad won the election with a landslide victory as expected. The international community however, is still not content with the election or its results.

Episode 104: Another kidnapping in Nigeria

Another mass abduction grips the Niger state. Let's take a look at the reasons behind the incessant abductions and why the situation has not changed for better.

Episode 102: Investigation into the origins of COVID-19

On 26 May, the US President ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal also reported that "Three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) became sick enough in November 2019 and they sought hospital care."

Episode 101: Europe's apology to Africa

On 27 May, French President Macron asked for "the gift of forgiveness" from the people of Rwanda in his speech at Kigali Genocide Memorial while he was visiting Rwanda.

Episode 100: The "coup within a coup" in Mali

On 28 May, Mali's constitutional court appointed Colonel Assimi Goita as the transitional President. It ruled that he would "lead the transition process to its conclusion" due to the "vacancy in the presidency."

Episode 98: Ceasefire in Israel

On 21 May, Israel's Cabinet voted to approve Egypt-mediated ceasefire with the Hamas in the Gaza strip, following 11 days of airstrikes and rocket attacks. Palestinians conducted celebratory gatherings in the occupied territories, and Israel removed emergency restrictions in rocket-hit areas.

Episode 97: Rise of Ransomware reign

The recent cyberattacks on Colonial Pipeline and Toshiba have once again brought to light the capabilities of cyber-criminals. Ransomware attacks in particular, have seen a massive surge during the pandemic as cybersecurity measures of most organizations have failed to keep up with the growing threat.

Episode 96: BBC apology to the Royal family

The BBC apologized to members of the Royal Family after an investigation revealed that reporter Martin Bashir had falsified documents to get an interview with Princess Diana in 1995.

Episode 95: Cryptocurrency Crash

In this episode, we are looking at the factors that led to the crash of the cryptocurrency market in the last week. On 20 May 2021, the Senior Arctic Officials and foreign ministers of eight Arctic countries met in Reykjavík. The meeting marked the conclusion of the Icelandic Chairmanship (2019-21) and the beginning of the Russian (2021-23).

Episode 94: The Arctic Council meeting

The Ministerial meeting adopted the "Arctic Council Strategic Plan 2021 to 2030", the first of its kind for the region, which will be the long-term framework guiding the Council's work till 2030.

Episode 93: EU's China investment freeze

China is lately becoming an unfavorable destination for EU. The economic disagreements and hurdles in investments coupled with clashes on human rights and democratic values are some bones of contention. Neither of the two is ready to alter it's ways and suit the other.

Episode 92: Migration crisis in Spain

On 18th May, 5000 Moroccans crossed over the border to the Spanish controlled north African territory of Ceuta in an attempt to reach Europe. This exodus marks the rising migrant crisis, a burning diplomatic rift and desperate human conditions

Episode 91: Elusive ceasefire in Israel-Palestine conflict

This episode looks at who wants what in the Israel-Palestine conflict? What are the recent developments of the conflict and what does each player of the conflict and various stakeholders in the region want as the conflict goes on. Also in the end we talk about the overall failure to bring calm in the region at the earliest.

Episode 90: The fallouts of Scotland election for the UK

On 9 May, the newly elected leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that another referendum on independence was inevitable. Sturgeon was speaking after her party won another electoral victory for the fourth consecutive term.

Episode 89: Hundred days of military rule in Myanmar

On 11 May, several protests, strikes, and rallies were organized across Myanmar to condemn the 100 days of military rule. Following an organized coup to establish the military government, on 1 February 2021, public protests and civil disobedience movement are common.

Episode 88: Cyber attack on US energy grid

On 12 May, Colonial Pipeline restarted operations after being shut for five days due to a ransomware attack on 7 May. Colonial said in a statement: "Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal." Bloomberg and the New York Times reported that the company paid USD 5 million (about 75 Bitcoin) as ransom to DarkSide, the hacking group responsible for the attack.

Episode 87: China's new census report

On 11 May, the Seventh National Population Census of the People's Republic of China (Chinese: 第七次全国人口普查 pinyin: Di Qi Ci Quanguo Renkou Pucha), better known as 2020 Chinese census was released. The census work began on 1 November 2020 and continued till 10 December 2020. The census covers all Chinese citizens living in mainland China, as well as those living abroad on temporary visas. Foreigners living in China for more than six months are also included. This release was originally planned for April but was delayed by a month.

Episode 86: Escalating Israel-Palestine violence

On 07 May, a series of skirmishes started between the worshippers and the Israeli police in the Al Aqsa mosque compound, with an exchange of stones, stun grenades and rubber bullets. The Palestinians had been protesting against any possible eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem that would follow a Court verdict and the Israeli government's settlement policies.

Episode 85: Violent protests in Colombia

On 3 May, Colombia's Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla resigned following days of deadly protests over a controversial tax reform proposal that he had piloted. In a statement reported by Reuters, he said: "My continuance in the government will complicate the quick and effective construction of the necessary consensus." His resignation came a day after President Ivan Márquez announced his decision to withdraw the tax reform proposal from Congress. He said: "I am asking Congress to withdraw the law proposed by the finance ministry and urgently process a new law that is the fruit of consensus in order to avoid financial uncertainty." However, stressing the need for tax reform, he added: "The reform is not a whim, it is a necessity."

Episode 84: Alexi Navalny's network added to the 'Extremist List' in Russia

On 4 May, changes to the election law in Russia were submitted to the lower house of Duma, which seeks to ban people linked to terrorist or extremist organizations from running for office. It includes anyone in the hierarchy of extremist groups, including the financial donors or individuals who played a role up to three years before the court ruling.

Episode 82: UK-France tensions over fishing rights

On 6 May, France dispatched two naval policing boats as French fishermen, angry over the loss of access to fishing off their coast, protested off the English Channel island Jersey. The French fishermen have steamed into Jersey waters to demonstrate against new rules requiring them to submit their past fishing activities in order to receive a license to continue fishing in the island's waters. On 5 May, Britain directed two Royal Navy vessels, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, to patrol the waters around the Jersey port, which is a self-governing British Crown Dependency near northern France.

Episode 81: The new debate on vaccine patent stands divided

On 5 May, Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative, announced the Biden administration's position on the proposal that India and South Africa submitted at the WTO: "The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines."

Episode 80: The Battle for Marib rages in Yemen

On 25 April, Agency France Press (AFP) reported: "the (Houthi) rebels have taken full control of the North-West Kassara battlefield and made progress on western frontlines towards Marib". The AFP's report also stated that the battle for Marib had moved to the Al-Min area which is just 6 kilometres away from the city. However, the very next day, Yemen's Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani denied the credibility of the news and declared it as misinformation.

Episode 79: The US troops begin final withdrawal amid enduring violence

On 30 April, a suicide truck bombing struck a guest house in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province, leaving 26 people dead and over 100 injured. The Presidential Palace condemned the attack as a crime against humanity and a terrorist attack against the people of Afghanistan. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Afghan government has blamed the Taliban for the blast.

Episode 78: North Korea's response to Biden's new policy

On 2 May, the Korea Central News Agency, mouthpiece of the North Korean government, released three statements in response to Biden's new policy on North Korea, which was disclosed after months of review. The statements called the policy "a big blunder" and "intolerable."

Episode 77: Meetings with Afghan leaders in Pakistan

On 22 April, COAS Gen. Bajwa met Afghan Ambassador Najibullah Ali to discuss the Afghan peace process, bilateral security and defence cooperation. On the same day, an Afghan daily, Tolo News, reported that Taliban's chief negotiator Mawlavi Abdul Hakim had travelled to Pakistan from Doha to seek guidance from the Taliban leadership on the US-backed Istanbul dialogue.

Episode 76: Farmaajo reverses term extension following clashes in Somalia

On 28 April, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, reversed the decision to extend his presidential term by two years after clashes within security forces gripped the capital, Mogadishu, for three days. Farmaajo said he would appear before the parliament on 1 May "to gain their endorsement for the electoral process that [was] agreed upon." He also asked the opposition not to initiate activities that could jeopardize the country's stability. However, the opposition maintained that they would not change their stand.

Episode 75: Continuing Missile Strikes between Israel and Syria

On 22 April, a Syrian anti-aircraft missile landed near Israel's top-secret Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev desert. Although the missile did not cause any damage or injuries, the Israeli military immediately launched a counterattack the same day. It destroyed multiple defence batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the missile. Three soldiers were seriously wounded, and a Syrian officer was killed in the strike.

Episode 74: The second wave drives an unprepared India into a humanitarian disaster

On 22 April, India recorded over 3.14 lakh COVID-19 infections, the highest daily infection recorded anywhere in the world. On 23 April, even this grim milestone was surpassed as the country reported over 3.22 lakh infections and 2,247 deaths, taking the total reported cases to 1,62,57,337 cases and deaths to 1,86,919.

Episode 73: Putin draws redlines against the West

On 21 April, during his state-of-the-nation address, President Vladimir Putin issued a warning regarding Russia's "swift" and "severe" response to hostile foreign actions. He told both houses of Parliament: "We want good relations...and really don't want to burn bridges." While referring to the West, he said: "I hope that nobody would decide to cross the so-called red line in relations with Russia, and we will define those [red lines] on our own in every individual case." He also discussed the issues of Covid in Russia, protests in favour of Navalny, and domestic economic hardships.

Episode 72: Biden brings back the Climate change agenda

On 22 April, President Joe Biden hosted online a two-day "Leaders Summit on Climate." The summit aimed at addressing the climate crisis, resilience and adaptation, reduction in emissions, innovation, finance, and job creation. The summit was attended by 40 world leaders along with business leaders around the globe.

Episode 71: Three years after inter-Korean talks

On 27 April, South Korea and North Korea marked three years of the inter-Korean summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. For the first time in three years, the South Korean government did not hold an official event to celebrate the anniversary of the first summit. The Unification Ministry cited COVID-19 as the reason for not allowing an official ceremony.

Episdoe 70: Provocation and conflict escalation at the Ukraine-Russian borders

On 9 April 2021, a Joint Commission meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) members (excluding the United States) was held in Vienna. The meeting followed a virtual and in-person meeting held a few days earlier, resulting in two working groups. One group looks at the US sanctions imposed on Iran; the other will develop conditions that Iran has to comply with to execute the JCPOA. The US representatives stayed at a different hotel as the Iranian delegation refused to meet them directly. Messages about the negotiations were relayed to the US by the other signatories to the JCPOA- Russia, European Union, China.

Episode 69: Opposition's electoral victory will affect the rare earth mining in Greenland

On 6 April, Greenland's main opposition party, a left-leaning Community of the People party, or Inuit Ataqatigiit, secured more than a third of votes in the snap parliamentary elections. In the 31 seats Greenlandic National Assembly, this indigenous, pro-environment, and pro-independence party has secured 12 seats, with a 37 per cent share of the votes. The ruling centre-left Forward or the Siumut Party won 10 seats, with 29 per cent of the votes.

Episode 68: Government discusses the US troop withdrawal, calls for Loya Jirga

On 19 April, a cabinet meeting led by President Ashraf Ghani discussed the government's preparations for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. At the meeting, Ghani stated that the decision to pull the troops out of Afghanistan does not mean a cut in Afghanistan-US ties but opens a new chapter in relations. The implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements after the withdrawal of US forces and empowering the security and defence forces were also discussed. Further, the cabinet called for a Loya Jirga to be held in which the status of permanent impartiality of Afghanistan could be considered after withdrawal.

Episode 67: France did nothing to stop the 1994 genocide, says report

On 19 April, a report commissioned by Rwanda said the French government "bears significant responsibility for having enabled a foreseeable genocide" in 1994. The report said: "From its knowledge of massacres of civilians conducted by the government and its allies, to the daily dehumanization of the Tutsi...the French government could see that a genocide was coming. The French government was neither blind nor unconscious about the foreseeable genocide." The report covers the period between 1990 to 1994 and outlines that the French government supported the Habyarimana government throughout the years, regardless of the above warning signs.

Episode 66: Pakistani Government bans the TLP after violent protests against France

On 15 April, the Pakistan government banned the fifth largest political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), under anti-terror law, after the protest by TLP workers turned violent across the country. Earlier, on 12 April, security agencies arrested Saad Hussain Rizvi, leader of TLP, to obviate the organization's long-march and sit-in in Islamabad for demanding the expulsion of the French Ambassador and severing ties with France. The arrest sparked a countrywide protest, which turned violent as TLP activists clashed with law enforcement agencies. The protestors were also able to take hostage 11 police officers and made government come back to the negotiating table with the banned group.

Episode 65: Japan's plan to release Fukushima's contaminated water ignites opposition

On 20 April, South Korea's foreign ministry announced that it would participate in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety verification efforts to address concerns regarding the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. On the same day, more than 30 students protested by shaving their heads in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

Episode 64: Sanctions imposed on Russia for involvement in 2020 US elections

On 16 April, Russia imposed sanctions on eight senior US administration officers, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National intelligence Avril Haines. Russia is also set to expel 10 US diplomats and establish new limits on the diplomats and their outposts, curbing the US non-profit groups' activities in the region and rethinking 'agonizing' measures against US businesses in vengeance for the vindictive actions by the US administration. These developments came after the US announced the sanctions on Russia. The Kremlin has directed the US ambassador to Russia to return to Washington in order to hold "serious" and "detailed" consultation.

Episode 63: US Climate envoy John Kerry visits China

On 15 April, US climate envoy John Kerry and other delegates reached Shanghai and Taipei ahead of the first virtual climate summit. President Biden has invited 40 leaders of the world for the summit, which shall be organized on 22-23 April. Kerry is in China to formally invite President Xi Jinping for the summit. President Xi Jinping is yet to confirm his presence at the meeting. The objective of the virtual summit is to convince leaders of the world to raise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement ahead of COP26.

Episode 61: The US and NATO decides to withdraw; Ghani accepts it

On 14 April, President Joe Biden announced: "It is time to end the forever war." He also added that he would withdraw the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by 11 September 20201, as it has accomplished its primary mission of denying terrorists a haven in Afghanistan. He said: "So, in keeping with that agreement and with our national interests, the United States will begin final withdrawal – begin it on 1 May of this year." He stated that the withdrawal would be made responsibly and in full coordination with the US allies, assuring that their diplomatic and humanitarian work continues. In response, President Ashraf Ghani, after holding a telephone call with Biden, said he respect the US decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

Episode 59: The US fortifies alliance in the Indo-Pacific

On 16 April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and American President Joe Biden met for the first time in Washington, where the two leaders discussed their bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. China topped the meeting agenda as the two leaders explored policy options and a suitable course of action to handle the challenges created by China's aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Human rights abuse in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and aggression in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan were the main focus of the meeting. President Biden said: "We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China and on issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea, to ensure a future of a free and open Indo Pacific."

Episode 58: Massacre in Afar-Somali border

On 8 April, the Ministry of Peace announced that the presidents of the Afar and Somali regional states had reached an agreement to resolve issues between the two regions. The decision called for a withdrawal of "security forces of their regions and allow [the] federal government to investigate and hold to account parties responsible for the conflict."

Episode 57: Attack on Natanz facility in Iran

On 11 April, the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran suffered a power blackout, causing damage to the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment. Iranian media blamed it on Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad. On 11 April, the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran suffered a power blackout, causing damage to the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment. Iranian media blamed it on Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad.

Episode 56: Escalation on tensions between Russia and Ukraine

On 10 April, Ukraine's defence minister warned against Eastern Ukraine's Donbas region's Russian exacerbation as a provocation. Kyiv has raised the alarm over Russian troops' buildup along the border that separates Ukraine and Russia in Donbas. The Kremlin rebuffed accusations of the troops being a threat.

Episode 55: Russian Foreign Minister's visit to Pakistan

On 7 April, the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov arrived in Pakistan for a two-day visit, the first in nine years. On his arrival, he met with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, who termed the meeting as the beginning of 'a new era' with Russia. The two held wide-ranging talks during which they reviewed their bilateral cooperation in energy, security, including counter-terrorism and defence, besides having an in-depth discussion on the situation in Afghanistan. Lavrov said Russia was ready to build further counter-terrorism potential by providing military equipment to Pakistan. He said: "This is in the interest of all states of the region," adding that both sides also agreed on joint military exercises and drills.

Episode 54: Return of JCPOA talks

On 9 April 2021, a Joint Commission meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) members (excluding the United States) was held in Vienna. The meeting followed a virtual and in-person meeting held a few days earlier, resulting in two working groups. One group looks at the US sanctions imposed on Iran; the other will develop conditions that Iran has to comply with to execute the JCPOA. The US representatives stayed at a different hotel as the Iranian delegation refused to meet them directly. Messages about the negotiations were relayed to the US by the other signatories to the JCPOA- Russia, European Union, China.

Episode 53: Attacks in Palma, Mozambique

On 6 April, the UNHCR spokesperson said at least 11,000 people had fled Palma, a town in Cabo Delgado province, which had been under ISIS attack from 24 March. The people fled to other districts in the province, namely, Pemba, Nangade, Mueda and Montepuez. He said that close to 80 per cent of those who had been separated were women and children.

Episode 52: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam talks

On 6 April, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan failed to reach an agreement over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), after three days of talks in Kinshasa. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said: "This position reveals once again Ethiopia's lack of political will to negotiate in good faith." Similarly, the Sudanese Foreign Minister said, "Without a new approach to negotiations, there becomes space for Ethiopia to impose a fait accompli and put all the peoples of the region in grave danger."

Episode 51: Global Gender Gap Report 2021

On 30 March, the World Economic Forum released the Global Gender Gap Report 2021. The report provides a benchmark to measure gender parity across countries on four parameters: Political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival. The report aims to track progress on relative gaps on the parameters mentioned above. The methodology used in the report has been constant since its first edition in 2006. On a scale of 0 to 100, the Global Gender Gap Index calculates scores that can be viewed as the distance to parity.

Episode 50 - Bloody Week in Myanmar

On 27 March, more than 100 people were killed by the security forces in a day. On the same day, the regime celebrated Armed Forces Day; it was attended by representatives from eight countries - Russia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and India. On the same day, the Chiefs of Defence of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States released a joint statement condemning the violence in Myanmar.

Episode 49 - Suicide attack in Indonesia

On 28 March, two suicide bombers (a newlywed couple) attacked a Catholic Church at Makassar- the capital city of South Sulawesi province. They detonated the bomb outside the church gate; more than 20 people were injured in the attack. According to the Police Chief, the attackers were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). The target was the Palm Sunday Church returnees during the Easter week. The fatalities could have been much higher had the bomb inside the Church.

Episode 48 - New missile tests make a statement to the US

On 26 March, North Korea announced that it test-fired two ballistic missiles on 25 March after almost a year of passivity. The Korean Central News Agency of North Korea said: "The newly developed new-type tactical guided projectile is a weapon system whose warhead weight has been improved to be 2.5 tons with the use of the core technology of tactical guided projectile that was already developed."

Episode 46 - WHO report on COVID-19

On 30 March, the much-expected report of the WHO on COVID-19 was released. According to the report, the transmission to humans through an intermediate host animal, is the most likely scenario; the spread through "cold-chain" food products is unlikely; and the role of the Hunan animal market remains unclear. As per the report, 28 per cent of confirmed cases had links with the market, 23 per cent with the other markets of Wuhan and 24 per cent had no sign of any market exposure. The report dismisses the lab leak theory, calling it an "extremely unlikely" situation.

Episode 45 - The US and allies sanction China; Beijing retaliates

On 22 March, the US, UK, European Union, and Canada announced sanctions against four officials, former and current, in the Xinjiang province for alleged human rights abuses. The US had placed sanctions on two of the officials back in July 2020. The sanctions have also been placed on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and paramilitary organization from the region.

Episode 44 - UNHRC resolution calls for reconciliation and accountability

On 23 March, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution titled "Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka" in the forty-sixth session. The resolution was drafted by a Core Group including the UK, Germany, Canada, Malawi, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. It was co-sponsored by 40 other countries including the US, France, and Italy. The resolution was put to vote through an e-voting system for the first time.

Episode 43 - Violence escalates after ISIS rebels seize town in Mozambique

On 29 March, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the week-long siege over Palma, a town in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province. On 30 March, the International Organisation for Migration said it had tracked "3,361 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 672 families, arriving by foot, bus, plane and boat from Palma" to other districts in the province. According to the IOM, more than three-quarters of those who escaped the violence were women and children. Though initial media reports suggest that dozens have died over the week, the exact number of casualties is unknown.

Episode 41 - Restrictive Anti protest bill passes second reading in Westminster

On 16 March, the conservative government of the UK passed in its second parliamentary reading, the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill. Also termed as the anti-protest bill, the proposed legislation aims to restrict groups to come together in large numbers and nosily protest in England and Wales. In the second reading, the first chance MPs get to vote on a proposed law; the bill was passed by 359 votes to 263. Since its introduction, the bill has come under heavy public criticism.

Episode 40 - Protests escalate and expand to include Chinese targets

On 16 March, the Myanmar government sentenced ten civil servants to prison for joining the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). On the same day, the State Administrative Council (SAC) threatened pro-democracy protestors with the death penalty in townships under martial law.

Episode 39 - Biden's first dialogue with Beijing

On 18 and 19 March, the US and China held their first in-person engagement in Anchorage, Alaska. Antony Blinken (Secretary of State) and Jake Sullivan (National Security Advisor), met Yang Jiechi (China's top diplomat) and Wang Yi (State Councilor and Foreign minister).

Episode 38 - The Moscow Summit

On 18 March, Russia hosted the first of the three international conferences to revive the stalled Afghanistan negotiations. The Moscow conference endorsed the 2020 UNSC resolution 2513 that opposed the restoration of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The conference was attended by representatives of the Afghan government (Abdullah Abdullah), Taliban (Mullah Baradar), Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation (Zalmay Khalilzad), and several other countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, India.

Episode 37 - Defence and Foreign policy review of the UK indicates an expansion in strategy

On 16 March, the government released an Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development, and Foreign Policy. The document is seen as the UK's biggest strategic shake-up since the Cold War era. The highlights of the document include: threats facing the UK, a tilt toward the Indo-Pacific, increasing the nuclear stockpile, and plans to send troops across longer distances for more extended periods. There is a greater emphasis on science and technology, especially in the aftermath of the COVID crisis. This is the first document that shows the UK's step forward outside of the EU.

Episode 36 - The US returns to East Asia

On 16 March, the US Defence Secretary (Lloyd Austin), and US Secretary of State (Antony Blinken), joined their Japanese counterparts for the two-plus-two security conference in Tokyo. They discussed China's aggression and the challenges to human rights in the region. The joint statement released after the meeting revealed the two countries concern over "unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea and unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo" of the Senkaku islands.

Episode 35 - Women fight against sexual violence in Australia

On 15 March, close to 80,000 people participated in the March4Justice protests, which took shape in 40 local events spread across Australia. The organization urged the public to sign a petition which demands four actions from the government: independent and timely investigation into all cases of gendered violence; complete execution of all recommendations in the Australian Human Rights Commission's Respect at Work report; lift public funding for addressing gendered violence; and enactment of a federal gender equality act that will audit parliamentary practices.

Episode 34 - Switzerland's ban on face covering

On 8 March, Switzerland voted narrowly in favour of a ban on face coverings in public. The referendum was passed by 51.2 per cent in favour of the ban on face-coverings. The proposal to ban was put forward and campaigned by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) with slogans like “Stop Extremism! Yes to the veil ban.”

Episode 33 - Protests in Lebanon

On 9 March, National News Agency, a state-run organisation, reported that demonstrators protesting against the country’s deteriorating economic conditions had blocked main highways including that leading to the capital city, Beirut. The developments came despite the President’s calls to clear the roadblocks.

Episode 32 - International Women's Day

On 8 March, the world commemorated International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while calling for action for accelerating gender parity. The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 was ‘Choose To Challenge.

Episode 31 - 10 years of Fukushima

On 11 March 2021, Japan observed the 10th anniversary of the earthquake (and tsunami) and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Silent prayers were held across the country to mourn the victims. Japanese Emperor Naruhito and PM Suga took part in a commemorative ceremony in Tokyo where they held a moment of silence at 1446 hrs (JST), the exact time at which the earthquake struck 10 years ago.

Episode 30 - QUAD Summit 2021

On 12 March, US President Joe Biden hosted the first virtual summit of the QUAD, which was attended by the Prime Ministers of India, Japan and Australia. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to promote free and open Indo-Pacific, pledged to respond to the impact of COVID-19, and address shared challenges including climate change, technology, and disaster relief.

Episode 29 - Pope Francis's visit to Iraq

On 5 March, Pope Francis arrived in Baghdad, commencing his historic three-day visit to Iraq. This is the first-ever papal visit to the region, and also the Pope’s first international visit since the pandemic began.

Episode 28 - The criminal case against Mohammed bin Salman

On 2 March, the Reporters without Borders (RSF) filed a criminal complaint in Germany, charging Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and four other high-ranking officials with crimes against humanity, including the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The lawsuit has been submitted in front of Germany’s Public Prosecutor.

Episode 27 - Post-Brexit fallout with EU

On 3 March, the EU announced that the ‘unilateral decision’ of the United Kingdom on Trade Rules is a breach of international law and threatened legal action. During Westminster’s annual budget, the UK announced its decision to unilaterally extend the grace period on the checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland, which is a violation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Episode 26 - Donor Conference for humanitarian aid in Yemen

Info Share SHARE EPISODE Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Download SUBSCRIBE RSS Feed RSS Feed Buzzsprout LISTEN ON RSS Feed SHARE EPISODE Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn SHOW NOTES On 1 March, a “Virtual High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen” was held by the UN. More than 100 governments and donors participated in the conference but the amount pledged was highly short of requirements and even less than that raised in 2020.

Episode 25 - UN report on Syria

On 1 March, the United Nations released a report by the Commission of Enquiry for Syria. The report explicitly holds the Government of Syria and armed groups in the region responsible for the detainment and mistreatment of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

Episode 24 - Protests against PM Pashinyan in Armenia

On 1 March, protesters stormed a government building in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, demanding PM Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, escalating a months-long political crisis over his handling of the recent war with Azerbaijan. On the same day, Pashinyan said he would be ready to hold snap parliamentary elections if the opposition agreed to certain conditions.

Episode 23 - Hong Kong police arrests 47 pro-democracy activists

On 28 February, Hong Kong police confirmed that 39 men and eight women pro-democracy campaigners were being charged on account of a “conspiracy to commit subversion”. The group of pro-democracy activists include former lawmakers, academicians, social workers, and youth activists.

Episode 22 - CIA Report accuses MBS

On 26 February, an intelligence report by the office of the US Director of National Intelligence revealed that the Crown Prince of Saudi, Mohammed bin Salman played a role in directing the Saudi hit squad to either "capture or kill" Khashoggi. The direct involvement of one of his advisers as well as members of his protective detail in the operation is some of the reasons for the conclusion. The four-page report names 21 individuals who participated in the killing.

Episode 21 - Abductions in Nigeria

On 26 February, as many as 317 girls were reported to have been abducted from the school by 100-odd gunmen who stormed the school in the wee hours of the day. The governor denied paying any ransom to the bandits for the release of the girls but termed the whole incident politically motivated.

Episode 19: Australia's new media code

The Australian government recently passed a new law which makes it mandatory for big tech firms to pay media firms in the country for using their content. On 26 February, Facebook resumed its services in Australia, after an eight-day black-out that disabled its users from sharing and viewing content created by Australian media companies.

Episode 18: Resumption of Doha Talks

On 22 February, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem via Twitter stated “This evening, a meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere between the leaders and some members of the two delegations for the inter-Afghan talks. The meeting emphasized the need to continue negotiations. And assigned groups to set the agenda, to continue their meetings on the subject.”

Episode 17: Biden's new approach to Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden made an important phone call to the King of Saudi Arabia - Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, discussing the bilateral relationship between their countries. The CIA also released its intelligence report on the 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, an American citizen and a Washington Post journalist. The report establishes the role of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and his close aides in the assassination.

Episode 16: Nigeria's worsening Security Situation

The Governor of Niger state in northwest Nigeria announced that 53 people, including 20 women and nine children, had been released by bandits. The 53 people had been abducted nearly a week ago by bandits when they were traveling in a state-owned bus in a village in Niger.

Episode 15 - South Korea's Comfort Women Issue

On 18 February, the United States Department of State said that Japan’s trafficking of women for sexual services during World War II was a grave violation of human rights. The statement comes after a Professor from Harvard University, who has now been urged to apologize, claimed that the Korean women were in voluntary contracts with the Japanese military and were not forced into prostitution.

Episode 13- Weather anomalies around the world

On 15 February, The United States issued an alert regarding a winter storm that affected Southern and Central American states. The State of Texas is one of the worst affected regions with as many as five million people suffering from power outages for consecutive days. On 18 February, the White House reported that the sudden winter storm is the type of event that could be triggered by climate change.

Episode 12 - Ten years after Gaddafi

On 17 February, thousands of Libyans gathered in the capital city of Tripoli to mark the 10th anniversary of the uprising that led to the end of four decades of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s dictatorship. Amnesty International said, “A decade after the overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi, justice has yet to be delivered to victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and abductions committed by militias and armed groups.”

Episode 11- Munich Security Conference

On 17 February, the NATO defence ministers met to address NATO's missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, review progress for a fairer burden-sharing, and discuss the NATO 2030 initiative in their two-day virtual conference. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “This is our first meeting with the new Biden administration and an opportunity to prepare the NATO summit in Brussels later this year.”

Episode 10-The US offers to restarts dialogue with Iran

On 18 February, the United States offered to restart talks with Iran on the JCPOA. The Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held talks with the officials of the European countries that are party to the agreement and stated that the US would return to it formally if Iran treads the path of compliance. The US State Department signalled that Washington was ready to hold “informal talks” with Iran, on the invitation of one of the European countries.

Episode 09 - Nepal's Gender-Specific Law


The Department of Immigration in Nepal proposed a new law wherein women under 40 years of age would have to seek consent from the family and the ward office to travel abroad on a visit visa. The proposal has triggered a widespread women’s protests which led the department, later in the week, to clarify that the provision was only applicable to those travelling alone for the first time to the Gulf or Africa.

Episode 08 - Anti-Separatism Bill in France

The lower house of the French National Assembly approved the “Respect for the Principles and Values of the Republic” or the ‘anti-separatism’ bill brought by President Emmanuel Macron to fight Islamic radicalism and defend the republic.

Episode 07 - Troops Withdrawal in Afghanistan.

On 17 February, the Taliban published an open letter urging the United States to remain committed to the Doha agreement regarding the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan. However, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report in which it stated that 65 journalists, media professionals and human rights defenders were killed in Afghanistan between 1 January 2018 and 31 January 2021, with 11 losing their lives since the start of negotiations in September 2020

Episode 06 - Continued Instability and Violence in Ethiopia's Tigray Region

Ethiopia reported that over 28 people were killed and dozens were injured in the Tigray region during the anti-government protests which started on 8 February 2021. Ethiopian forces allegedly used live bullets against the protesters. Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs also announced the closure of two Eritrean refugee camps citing the impact of the Tigray conflict on the two.

Episode 05 - US Strategy towards Yemen

On 4 February, President Biden announced that the US is “ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales.” On 5 February, the US State Department informed the Congress that it will reverse the Trump administration’s decision to declare Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization.

Episode 04 - Week Two of Myanmar's Military Coup

On 9 February, General Min Aung Hlaing, issued a long public statement for the first time since coming to power. He justified the necessity of the coup as the 2020 November election was “unfair.” Street protests started and continue to gain momentum. However, beginning from 9 February the Tatmadaw started taking action against the protestors on the grounds of violation of the martial law and the ban on the assimilation of more than five people.

Episode 03 - UAE's Mission to Mars

On 9 February 2021, the United Arab Emirates’ first interplanetary mission to Mars, called Hope, was placed into orbit around the planet. The UAE becomes the fifth spacefaring country after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe, and India.

Episode 02 - Alexei Navalny Arrests and Protests in Russia

On 2 February, a Moscow City Court declared Alexey Navalny guilty of breaking the terms of an earlier case from 2014. He was initially sentenced to three-and-a-half years; since, he had failed to regularly report to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), the Court has stated that his excuse for non-appearance as insufficient, converting his suspended judgement into a real one.

Episode 01 - Coup in Myanmar

In a military coup, the Myanmar army retook control. It has declared an emergency and has formed a new government headed by the Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and former Vice President U Myint Swe. An 11-member cabinet of retired army personnel and USDP (Tatmadaw's proxy) members has been formed.