Russia to ban think-tank formerly run by US ambassador

“We are proud of the council’s long tradition of work with Russians and on Russia, and are disappointed that Russian authorities have announced this step,” the Atlantic Council said in a statement. (Screengrab)
Updated 26 July 2019

Russia to ban think-tank formerly run by US ambassador

  • The move follows steps taken by Moscow against several other foreign non-government organizations
  • US ambassador Jon Huntsman served as chairman of the think tank from 2014 until 2017

MOSCOW: Russia said on Thursday it was preparing to ban the Atlantic Council, a think-tank formerly run by the US ambassador to Moscow, which Russia’s prosecutor general described as a security threat.
“It has been established that the activities of this organization present a threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation,” the prosecutor general’s office said.
It gave no further details of the reasons for the ban.
The move follows steps taken by Moscow against several other foreign non-government organizations since Russia’s relations with the West deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 and financial sanctions that followed.
The General Prosecutor’s Office said it had handed over its ruling to the Russian ministry of justice.
“We are proud of the council’s long tradition of work with Russians and on Russia, and are disappointed that Russian authorities have announced this step,” the Atlantic Council said in a statement sent by email to Reuters, adding that it had not been informed of the decision by the authorities.
US ambassador Jon Huntsman served as chairman of the think tank from 2014 until 2017, when he was appointed to his diplomatic post by President Donald Trump.


Parents of Pakistan students in China coronavirus center vent anger at ministers

Updated 19 February 2020

Parents of Pakistan students in China coronavirus center vent anger at ministers

  • Health minister Mirza said he would convey the parents’ anger at a cabinet meeting on Thursday
  • Pakistan has said its embassy in Beijing is supporting students and a two-person team traveled to Wuhan this week to meet students and gather more information about their situation

ISLAMABAD: Angry parents of Pakistani students stuck in the locked down province at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak confronted government ministers at a meeting on Wednesday, demanding their children are evacuated.
Pakistan has so far ruled out bringing home the more than 1,000 students in Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, where three-quarters of the more than 2,000 deaths from the outbreak of the flu-like virus have been recorded.
Health Minister Zafar Mirza and Minister for Overseas Citizens Zulfiqar Bukhari briefed parents for the first time on Wednesday, telling them the students’ welfare was better off in China and Pakistan did not have adequate facilities to quarantine them if they returned.
But hundreds interrupted the briefing, with some seizing microphones to say they did not want to listen to officials until their children were returned and dozens flooding the stage to crowd around the ministers.
“Bring our kids back, they have been in lockdown for 25 days...they are not getting any support...from you,” one family member who took the microphone said.
Health minister Mirza said he would convey the parents’ anger at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Pakistan has said its embassy in Beijing is supporting students and a two-person team traveled to Wuhan this week to meet students and gather more information about their situation.
The overseas citizens minister and a spokesman for the health minister did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.
More than 400 parents traveled from around the country to attend the meeting at a school in Islamabad and around 100 protested with placards outside after the meeting, blocking a nearby road. Protests in the larger cities of Lahore and Karachi were held last week.
Many students and their families have expressed growing frustration as the death toll in China mounts, pointing to other countries, including neighboring India and Bangladesh, evacuating their citizens.
Muhammad Wasim Akram, whose wife is a fourth year medical student in the city of Shiyan in Hubei, said he had traveled five hours to the meeting but was left disappointed.
“I traveled from Lahore to attend this nonsense. I feel nothing (has been done)...shame on the government,” he told Reuters, adding students’ mental health was eroding after being stuck inside for weeks, while their access to food and bottled water was limited.