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United States will sell fighter planes to Pakistan despite opposition by the Congress

Akshay Tarfe

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The United States recently gave green signal to the sale of F-16 Block-52 fighter planes to Pakistan. Eight such fighter planes will be sold to Pakistan for $699 million. United States’ Congress, the chief law making body in the country has already opposed the move by Obama administration. Congress was against the supply of fighter planes to Pakistan due to its constant support and shelter to the terrorist groups.

The decision has been approved by the US Department of State. The US Congress was informed about the sale by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). A US government official informed the press that they support the transfer of eight F-16s to Islamabad. Pakistan’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency programs will be strengthened by this.

Militants in Pakistan have been hiding in many tribal territories and using these areas as training camps. The air operations will help to eliminate militants from their roots. The United States’ interest in the region will be protected due to this move as well. Many Taliban leaders have taken refuge in this region recently.

Pakistan has launched massive ant insurgency operations since the attack on Peshawar school and Bacha Khan University in recent past. The Congress’s main argument against the deal was about the way Pakistan will finance the sale of fighter jets.

New fighter jets will enable Pakistani forces to function in all seasons. It will also let them conduct operations in night light and remote regions. The United States has also said that Pakistan is ready to absorb these new planes in its air force. Monthly training programs, transition training will be provided to the pilots. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker recently informed John Kerry, Secretary of State about his objections to the deal. It would be interesting to see how Pakistan uses new fighter planes provided by the United States in the operations now.

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US Presidential Election begins with Iowa caucus, race remains tight for nominations

Akshay Tarfe

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US Presidential Election

The most important phase of US Presidential Election will kick start soon in Iowa where the candidates will fight for nominations. More than 1,681 sites in Iowa will host the causes. Both republicans and democratic candidates have urged people to vote.

Governor Marco Rubio will be speaking at three such sites before the caucus. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton campaign said that more than 2,000 volunteers will work for them in Iowa. Donald Trump said, “Wouldn’t that be terrible if I lost in Iowa, won everywhere else?”

The experts say that if young and first time voters come out in high numbers to vote, Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump should expect better result. This is not a good news for Hilary Clinton’s campaign. The lower turn out is expected to work for Clinton and Senator Ted Cruz.

The weathermen have informed that there will massive snowstorm on the day of caucus. Trump has appealed voters by saying,” You’re from Iowa, are you afraid of snow?”

All candidates are expected to head towards New Hampshire soon as the first primary will be scheduled there. Other candidates are already in the New Hampshire. It includes Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich.

The Iowa caucuses result in short listing the names in Presidential race. It cuts down the list from a dozen to just three. Many candidates take a note of negative results and do not continue the race. Some candidates withdraw and ask their supporters to back other candidate.

The caucuses are totally administered by the party unlike elections which are run by the government. Both parties have different systems of selecting the candidate during caucuses. Ultimately these are going to decide the number of delegates each candidate has for the national convention of each party.

It would be interesting to see who wins the US Presidential Election this year which kick starts in Iowa.

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Is Edward Snowden responsible for the use of secure communication by terrorists?

Akshay Tarfe

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Is Edward Snowden responsible for the use of secure communication by terrorists

Edward Snowden, a world famous whistle blower and former CIA contractor informed us about dangerous snooping techniques of the intelligence agencies. Since the famous leak by Snowden, the market has responded with messaging services with tougher encryption tools. Today even normal communication services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Google hangouts come with encryption. Many jihadist groups are also misusing this technology which was supposed to protect the privacy of users. Paris attacks recently triggered the discussions about the role of internet and messaging services in planning terrorist attacks.
So is Edward Snowden really responsible for the use of sophisticated encrypted communication by terrorist? Many online communities held him responsible for this in some way. Prominent voices such as Boris Johnson, London’s mayor held Snowden responsible for Paris attacks due to his involvement in leaking thousands of classified documents. Johnson said that Snowden taught some of the nastiest people to hide themselves from the authorities.
But experts have something else to say. Flashpoint Global Partner, a technology firm which exclusively keeps a watch on Deep Web said that online jihadi activities haven’t changed since ‘Snowden leaks’. The history has shown us that the technological development cannot be stopped on both sides of the fences.
In 2007, well before the Snowden leak, Al Quaeda Web forum was freely distributing encryption software called Asrar aL-Mujahideen (Secrets of the Mujahideen). Data by Flashpoint has revealed that all jihadi messages and files were encrypted by this software that time.
The history of releasing secure communication software for terrorist groups continues till year 2013. Asrar al-Dardashah (Secrets of Chatting) was made available four months before Mr. Snowden went public with NSA documents.
Edward Snowden can’t be accused of helping terrorists. His revelations definitely alarmed internet users to opt for secure communications and unfortunately some these users were terrorists.

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Barack Obama and his fascination for Nicotine gum

Mehul Thakkar

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Barack Obama and his fascination for Nicotine gum

It was India’s 66th Republic Day and like every year this time US, President, Barack Obama, was the chief guest for the ceremony which  is traditionally held by the Prime Minister and President of India, in New Delhi.

Obama was seen chewing gum at the Republic Day parade on Monday, where he was the chief guest. Pictures of the event showed him chewing gum (Nicorette tablet) and then removing it while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was talking to him.

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Obama chewing gum during the Republic Day ceremony in New Delhi.

Though there was a lot of commentary on social media on his chewing gum at a formal ceremony, this was not the first time Obama has been spotted doing so.

Obama casually pops Nicorette during White House ceremony [VIDEO]

Ever-conscious of the many cameras that capture his every move, Obama waited for just the right moment — during an event honouring former President George H.W. Bush — when it seemed likely that no network in the world would be focusing on the current president.

obama-gum-AFP

 

Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in China, last year, raised some eyebrows for chewing gum at inappropriate times.

Obama has a well-documented history of using gum control to stave off his smoking urges, but it’s rare to catch the president getting his nicotine fix in public.

The White House press secretary, in the past, said, “Obama still struggles with a nicotine addiction, but the spokesman didn’t say whether the president still smokes cigarettes.

In the past, Obama has spoken about the difficulty of quitting cigarettes and also thinks, quitting the addiction is a lifelong struggle.

Nicotine gum is a type of chewing gum that delivers nicotine to the body. It is used as an aid in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation and quitting smokeless tobacco. The nicotine is delivered to the bloodstream via absorption by the tissues of the mouth.

 

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