There are two aspects to the news- knowing the headline and understanding the intricacies of it. We at The Connectere focus on both. While The First Forum edition gives a brief about the headlines, The Weekly Analysis Edition is meant to educate the reader on what do various news mean and what are their intricacies. This initiative is meant to educate the reader on how to understand the important news. In the Twelfth Edition we are covering the following news:

  1. Why China is pushing Hongkong security law?
  2. India plans to store crude in the US
  3. The George Floyd Case 
  4. Black Deaths
  5. Lockdown 5.0 

ProtestWhy China is pushing Hong Kong security law?

China stunned Hong Kong when it announced it would impose a national security law on Hong Kong. China is taking matters into its own hands after last year’s tumultuous anti-government protests in Hong Kong that often descended into tear gas-filled clashes. In a surprise move, the central government announced last week that it would develop laws to outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign interference in Hong Kong. The National People’s Congress is expected to ratify the bill, and legislation could be finalized this summer.

China’s decision raises questions about the future of the semi-autonomous territory. If I talk about the current scenario, the people of Hong Kong are on the streets protesting for this bill not only to suspend it but to be withdrawn completely. They believe they aren’t fighting for something new that they need, they are fighting for something that they have lived with for so many years and is now in a threat. They’re demanding something which they already have but the security bill now threatens it. This is not merely about the bill but the status of Hong Kong and the power China has over it. It’s the fight to preserve the freedom that people have in Hong Kong and the identity Hong Kong has. This also violates the ‘One country two systems’ agreement due to which the British handed over Hong Kong to China. The agreement made Hong Kong a part of china but states that Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy, democratic freedom of vote, speech, and press. The agreement was signed in 1997 and is a 50-year agreement that would last till 2047, but China isn’t waiting for the deal to expire.

The impact of this bill if it passes would largely be on every Hongkongers life and effect Hong Kong completely. The democratic status that is being followed in Hong Kong to some extent will also be suffered and Hongkongers speaking against China could be treated the same way Chinese people are. This bill allows China to deploy its central police and forces in Hong Kong which means trails will happen as they happen in China which aren’t fair and there’s no humane punishment too. The impact of this will also be on the international relations of both Hong Kong and China as they have different trade negotiations with different allies. In the period of this worldwide pandemic, China is not only causing problems for other countries including trade or expanding its borders but conflicting internally also. This shows somehow how the Chinese government had all planned this scenario to weaken the states and then acquire them silently. The people of Hong Kong will fight till their last breath as this a matter of their identity and pride.

OilIndia plans to store crude in the US

India is looking to store crude oil it has bought at low prices in the global market in other countries, particularly the US, according to Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. This is because its local storage facilities are full. The Modi government’s plans are on the lines of a similar move by Australia which plans to build an emergency stockpile by buying crude and storing it in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Australia and India are among various governments that are taking advantage of low crude oil prices in the global market. Though crude oil prices have recovered from lows of around $20 a barrel, the commodity is still available at an affordable rate for countries such as India, which is the third-largest importer. Crude oil prices have dropped over 40 percent this year, mainly due to a sharp drop in demand in the wake of the spread of the pandemic novel Coronavirus. India imports nearly 85 percent of its crude oil demand, running into nearly 230 million tonnes.

The Union Government has fully stored crude oil in its 5.33 million tonnes of strategic storage while storing nearly nine million tonnes on ships in the Gulf region and elsewhere. Plans are afoot to expand the storage to 6.5 million tonnes. According to the Minister, the stored crude oil could meet 20 percent of the country’s annual demand.

This would in no way make the oil available to people at cheaper rates as the storage which we are talking about is SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserves). SPRs are made and used in emergencies when the supply is disrupted due to any political or geographic reason. SPR can only be used in situations of emergency and when supply is deeply affected. The storage of cheap oil in the US would save millions of dollars for India as the current price per barrel is around $35 and the storage cost can vary from $5 to $7 per barrel. This cost including the storage cost even would help India save a lot in the situation when the economy is already in a slowdown phase. India could also plan to store oil in some other countries but the unnecessary cost of transportation would increase thereof that is not advised. The US being a safe country, can be relied upon in emergencies also as we have improved our relations with the USA in the last decade. India is also planning to increase its SPR capacity which is currently very less as compared to other nations.

In June 2018, the Modi approved the construction of a new storage facility in Chandikhole and doubling the capacity at Padur. This would raise India’s strategic reserve capacity to 12.33 million tonnes. Apart from this, India is planning to expand more strategic crude oil facilities in the second phase at Rajkot in Gujarat.

Racial Discrimination

The George Floyd case

George Floyd’s death has raised furor all across America and public outcry for justice has flooded social media. It has caused streets of America to be full of people’s fervid and ardent cries of “Black lives matter”.

The protests began in Minneapolis but grew on Saturday from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars being set ablaze. The country has lurched towards another night of unrest since the 25th.

So what led to this unrest?  Floyd was arrested on 25th May after he was accused of using a counterfeit $20 note at a local deli. According to the police, Floyd “physically resisted” the arrest after he was told to exit his car- a claim that was belied by mobile phone footage. A white police officer kneeled on his neck for at least seven minutes despite Floyd gasping for breath and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. His unresponsive body was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

What legal actions have been taken so far? The four policemen involved have been fired, and the FBI has been called in to conduct a federal civil rights probe. The officer who pinned him to the ground, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd’s family said that they wanted first-degree murder charges, as well as the arrest of the three other officers involved but arrests, have not been made.

This outrageous display of racial discrimination has sparked violent protests in Minneapolis, leading to a state of peacetime emergency being declared in Minnesota state as well as the activation of its National Guard. Protests have also taken place in California, New York, Ohio, and Colorado. The Pentagon has put the military on alert for possible deployment in Minneapolis. The protests on streets are matched with protesters on social media decrying years of deaths at police hands and standing up against racial discrimination.

However, in the middle of a global pandemic, the large gatherings have raised concerns about the potential for helping the spread of the virus. It’s dicey because it seems like unless people take to streets and cry their hearts out, their pleas will go unheard but on the other hand, street protests could be harmful when overall deaths are on the decline and much of America is in the process of reopening. Meanwhile, Trump has asked the justice department to expedite an investigation into whether any civil rights laws were violated in Floyd’s death while saying “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The incident once again brought to light concerns over the law enforcement’s bias against the African-American minority. The riots cannot be condoned but they are born out of a dark place. One’s complexion cannot and should not decide their punishment or privileges. The situation across America is about countless black lives lost without anyone to hold accountable simply because the victims were of color. It’s about the ‘knee on the neck’ is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down.

Discrimination of all kinds still exists and as long as they do there can be no true freedom.

Deaths

Black deaths

What happened on the 25th of May to George Floyd is another addition to the list of countless black deaths at the hands of police or white supremacists.

Have we forgotten Ahmaud Arbery?
A 25-year-old black man, Ahmaud Arbery set out for a jog in Georgia, on February 23rd and was gunned down in broad daylight. Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, both white, say they mistook Arbery for a burglary suspect. They roamed free for more than two months.

Then there’s Regis Korchinski-Paquet. Thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Toronto on 30th May in response to her death. Just two days after the 29-year-old woman fell from a Toronto high-rise while police were on the scene, masked protestors gathered to demand answers surrounding her death which was suspected to be caused by police pushing her off and to call for the end of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism worldwide.

In 2016, Peel officers handcuffed a six-year-old Black girl at her school. We cannot forget how George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” is horrifyingly similar to Eric Garner’s pleas in 2014 an unarmed African-American man uttering the same words 11 times as he was held in a chokehold by a police officer in New York City before he died.

Other high profile black deaths include the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile, just after he had informed the police officer that he was carrying a gun. In 2016 police shot Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in Louisiana where he was selling CDs. There have been countless cases, some documented and some that went unheard.

According to a study in 2016, the rate of fatal shootings by the police per million people was the highest for the Native American (10.13) and Black (6.6) racial groups while white people had a rate of 2.9 and African-Americans were 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a police officer.

In 2013, after the acquittal of a civilian who fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began trending on social media. It achieved national fame in 2014 during protests against the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. It has now become even more prominent with people across the globe acknowledging it to demand justice for George Floyd.

Researchers have compiled and analyzed data and found that police are more likely to pull over black drivers, that black offenders spent a long time in prison and there’s  “a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans”. Such charges and more have led to severe underrepresentation of black Americans in the voting electorate. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Moving past racism is not an onus on people of color. Everyone needs to understand that being different in no way means being bad. People are being pushed to the edge because the questionable acts of law enforcers have become a question on civil rights, on human rights. We are first and foremost, humans and it’s high time we started acting like one.

Meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi • President of Russia

Lockdown 5.0

In a landmark decision, the government on Saturday presented the 5th and latest edition of the lockdown, sought to protect the citizens against the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The latest one is a landmark because the government has sort of blurred the line of the lockdown by opening all major hubs such as shopping complexes, malls, offices, and other economic centers. It is clear from the government’s action that saving the economy which is on an elevator is now the government’s top priority. It also set the stage for a phased reopening—and a resumption of the economy—starting 8 June, when most activity would be freed by the Centre in all but containment zones. States are to get even more autonomy to formulate their own strategies to check the spread of a virus that has roiled lives and livelihoods around the globe. So, while the Centre would have all inter-state and intra-state movement allowed from 1 June, state administrations might plausibly persist with curbs that defy the idea of an India open to all Indians. India’s corona crisis is yet to peak and some are surprised that not just businesses, but malls and restaurants also have an okay from the Centre to open up in phase one of the next lockdown’s easing.

A lifting of curbs could accelerate corona cases in June, and how each state responds may depend on local calculations of cost-versus-benefit as much as politics in ways that may or may not serve the larger interests of the economy. Much will also depend on people voluntarily observing safety protocols while going about their lives. This however can be seen as a welcome step for many who work in these shopping complexes and malls. This is extremely important to keep the economic cycle running. But, the opening of temples and other places of worship will lead to a congregation of the people and the masses, which will increase the chances of the spread of the virus. It is extremely dangerous in such times because medicine has not yet been developed.

It is however extremely important that people on their own personal level, exercise degrees of precautions, and take all necessary steps. The decision regarding the opening of schools and colleges shall come in July. What is important now is to see how the numbers change once things open up post lockdown 5.0.

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