Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October, 2012

Newsline: Indian naval officer promises marriage, ‘rapes’ German Embassy employee

A Naval officer allegedly raped a 27-year-old German national, working with Germany Embassy in Delhi, after promising to marry her. A case has been registered at Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Station in South East Delhi. However, no arrest has been made in this regard. The accused has been identified as Subhodh Rastogi (28). “The victim, a native of Germany, was posted with German Embassy at New Delhi. She is currently staying at a rented accommodation in Jangpura Extension area and working as a reader of daily posts (communication) in the embassy,” said a police officer. The victim told the police that last year she met Subhodh Rastogi, who posed himself as an officer in Indian Navy, on Facebook and started chatting with him. Police official said that after some meetings, he proposed to her and then started dropping in at her house, especially on weekends. She asked him about their marriage but when she questioned him he changed the topic and promised to marry her in coming months. “Few months back, he started ignoring her and did not respond to her phone calls. Then, the victim realised that he had cheated her on the pretext of marriage and with the help of her friends, she approached the police and informed them about the incident. Later, she was taken to hospital for medical examination which confirmed rape,” the official added. After registering the case, police started the investigation and the brother of the accused was questioned. “We have not arrested the accused as he is in Gujarat. We have informed the senior authorities of Navy,” said an official.



Newsline: Super Storm Sandy Forces Kenyan Embassy Closure

The Kenyan embassy in Washington and the Kenya Mission to the United Nations in New York were closed on Tuesday following the super storm Sandy disaster which continues to wreck havoc in most US states. A statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nairobi said embassy officials were monitoring the situation before the embassies are re-opened as early as Wednesday. The Ministry said it had contacted Ambassador Elkanah Odembo in Washington and Ambassador Macharia Kamau in New York who have assured that all Kenyans in the US are safe. “The Ministry also wishes to assure Kenyans that most Kenyans living in the United States have contact with the missions and can access our Ambassadors there for any help,” it added.


Newsline: South African man posts toenails to Chinese embassy

A Grahamstown man has posted his toenails to the Chinese embassy in Pretoria because he is upset with the escalating number of rhino killed by poachers. Mark Wilby clipped off his toenails, put them in an envelope and posted it. In a YouTube video, he called on other South Africans to do the same. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same protein in hair, fingernails and toenails, but some Asian countries believe it has medicinal qualities.



Newsline: Turkey’s Berlin embassy moves back into its WWII home

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to inaugurate a new Turkish embassy in Berlin, with the grandiose building underlining his nation’s ambition to become a member of the European Union. The mission, Turkey’s largest abroad, has been erected in the German capital’s upscale Tiergarten embassy district, on the site where a Turkish embassy stood until Allied bombardment late in World War II left much of the city in rubble. The 30-million-euro (39-million-dollar) building, entered through a 16-metre-high copper-lined archway, is located between the missions of South Africa and Italy.



Newsline: UAE announces Sandy hotlines for citizens

The UAE announced emergency hotline numbers for those affected. The UAE embassy in Washington can be contacted on 0012024315530, and the mission in New York on 0012123710480. The Ministry Operations room hotline is 0097122222000. A warning was also issued for UAE citizens earlier. The statement read: “Hurricane Sandy is fast approaching the East Coast of the United States and in particular, the Interstate 95 corridor, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Massachussetts and the New England Region. “Please use caution and stay in touch with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates if you need assistance…”



Newsline: Saudi embassy linked with terrorist funding in Ethiopia

The wife of a senior Ethiopian politician was charged with funneling money from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to Islamist terror groups, at a hearing at the Ethiopian Federal High Court. Habiba Mohammed, wife of former Minister for the Civil Service Junedin Sado, was one of 29 Muslim activists accused of criminal conspiracy to commit unspecified acts of terrorism — charges that could attract the death penalty. Lawyers for the accused denied the charges. A predominantly Christian country, Ethiopia has positioned itself as a bulwark in the U.S.-led war on terror in East Africa and has promulgated laws, such as the anti-terrorism proclamation 652 of 2009, which have an unusually broad definition of terrorism. According to the prosecution, Ms. Habiba allegedly tried to steal 1.5 million Ethiopian Birr from the Islamic Council of Ethiopia. He also allegedly received more than 50,000 ETB from the Saudi Arabian Embassy to fund “illegal activities” amongst Ethiopia’s Muslim population.



Newsline: US embassy relies on pirate site to network in Vietnam

It’s a wildly popular website laden with unlicensed songs and Hollywood movies, a prime exhibit of the digital piracy that is strangling the music industry in Asia and eroding legitimate online sales around the world. The free-to-download bonanza has pushed Vietnam’s Zing.vn into the ranks of the globe’s top 550 websites. But a few clicks inside the site reveal a surprising presence: the U.S. government, which maintains a bustling social media account there. Washington is a vocal proponent of intellectual property rights in Vietnam as it is around the world, and a site like Zing would be shut down in the United States. But with space for public diplomacy limited in Communist Vietnam, the American embassy uses its “Zingme” account to reach out to young people in Vietnam as it seeks to build closer ties with its former enemy. The embassy’s presence shows just how mainstream pirate sites have become in Vietnam, where the government does nothing to stop them operating. But it also raises questions whether Washington is legitimizing a renowned pirate site that record labels, singers and industry groups say ignores requests that it take down infringing material. The embassy said it recognizes the concerns for U.S. copyright interests posed by Zing but that it believes that contact with the website’s users could reduce traffic or infringing activity on it. The mission sometimes uses its Zingme page to post about copyright infringement.