Qureshi not to attend SAARC meet in Colombo
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will not be attending the SAARC ministerial meeting in Colombo later this week as he on Sunday left for Washington to hold consultations with the US on a review of the American policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will represent India at the meet, was expected to meet Qureshi on the fringes of the conference which could have been the first high-level contact between the two countries after the Mumbai terror strikes.
Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir would represent Islamabad at the SAARC meet scheduled for February 26.
Qureshi, who is leading a delegation that includes representatives from Pakistan’s defence ministry and security agencies, will meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and Bruce Riedel, co-chair of the Policy Review Panel.
The review, ordered by Obama last month, will look at the military and non-military aspects of US policy in the region. The review is to be completed before a NATO summit in April.
China has started permitting international flights after a two-year ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is no word yet on the resumption of air services to India even after Beijing lifted a visa ban for Indian professionals and their families last month. China is also processing the list of hundreds of Indian students wanting to return to the country to re-join their colleges. Beijing is reportedly reviewing the Indian student lists.
Chinese vice-premier Liu He had a “constructive” dialogue with US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday with both sides agreeing to strengthen “macro-policy communication” and coordination, according to a statement from China. Liu expressed concern over the additional tariffs that the US had imposed on Chinese goods during the video conversation, the official Chinese statement, released by state news agency Xinhua said. The exchange was “pragmatic and frank”, the Chinese statement said.
The European Parliament on Tuesday ratified landmark laws that will more closely regulate Big Tech and curb illegal content online, as the EU seeks to bring order to the internet "Wild West". "With the legislative package, the European Parliament has ushered in a new era of tech regulation," said a key backer of the laws, German MEP Andreas Schwab.
Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, reversing earlier gains, as concerns of a possible global recession curtailing fuel demand outweighed supply disruption fears, highlighted by an expected production cut in Norway. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 15 cents, or 0.1%, to $108.28 a barrel, from Friday's close. There was no settlement for WTI on Monday because of the Independence Day public holiday in the United States. Supply concerns still loomed.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday spoke out in support of Canada-based filmmaker Leena Manimekali - who is the subject of social media outrage (and FIRs by police in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh) after a poster for her new film 'Kaali' showed the goddess smoking. "You have the freedom to imagine your goddess," Moitra said at a media event. The Trinamool leader was responding to a question about her take on this controversy.