Syria-Trump is right: The ceasefire in three Syrian provinces announced after Friday’s Trump-Putin meeting in Hamburg is the first correct step that the United States has taken in the Middle East in more than 20 years, argues David P. Goldman. The Syrian deal should be understood in the context of Donald Trump’s earlier address in Warsaw, says Goldman, when the US President challenged Russia to “join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.”
Pakistan’s unjust taxes: The poorest of the poor pay 80% of taxes collected in Pakistan while the rich, whose total contribution to overall tax revenue does not exceed 5%, enjoy special rights or privileges and a concessionary regime under the country’s unethical tax structure. F.M. Shakil reports that the poor pay huge indirect taxes on utilities, petrol, and mobile communication and Pakistan’s premier tax collection machinery, the Federal Board of Revenue, has failed miserably to widen the country’s tax net.
Trump in Bali? Indonesian billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s managerial partner is US President Donald Trump and the pair are associated with a bid to redevelop a picturesque Balinese golf course into a six-star resort, reports John McBeth. The resort site overlooks the iconic island Hindu temple of Tanah Lot which could make the development a very sensitive one as Bali has, to date, managed to retain its strong cultural and religious identity despite the presence of millions of tourists.
India-Amarnath terror attack: India’s mainstream opposition parties are engaged in a blame game after a terror attack by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba left seven pilgrims dead in Jammu and Kashmir’s Amarnath district on Monday. E Jaya Kumar writes that Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi squarely blamed the federal government for security lapses despite knowing that 40,000 armed soldiers had been deployed in the region to protect the pilgrims.
China-Handbags join ‘shareconomy’: High-end handbags from top-tier luxury brands ranging from Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Hermes and Prada to Louis Vuitton are now available for rent on a platform called “Dou Bao Bao”, writes Lin Wanxia. The platform, which literally means “show off your handbags” launched last month on WeChat and its handbags join the car rides, bicycle hires, basketballs, umbrellas and mobile-phone chargers that are already available as part of China’s booming “sharing economy”.