For twenty two years after 1927 the comrades of the CCP knew of no state other than constant war. Physically liquidated from the cities in 1927-8, they fled to the countryside, where they suffered one extermination campaign after another by the Guomindang, forcing them to embark on the Long March in 1934. This exhausting state of affairs brought the party to near extinction (it certainly was enough to destroy its Marxist programme), a big factor in its forging an alliance with Chiang Kai Shek in 1936 to gain breathing space. And yet no sooner had this truce been signed when Japan launched an all out war with China, a war whose secondary motivation for the Japanese (after the exploitation of Chinese industry and raw materials) was the extermination of the communist threat.

As terrorists struck another educational institution, the attack has stunned even a society where terrorism is not an extraordinary happening. Wednesday`s attack on Bacha Khan University`s Charsadda Campus in which 21 mainly students were killed and more than fifty injured, has raised the two-day death toll to more than 30.

On January 11th 2016, the normally dormant, lifeless and visionless institution called the Senate did something unexpected and radical, even going against its core conservative characteristics. The Senate approved a resolution for lifting the ban on student unions, and a committee was formed to finalise recommendations on this matter.

Less than a quarter of an hour after opening, the Chinese stock market was closed by an automatic shutdown. This was triggered twice last week by rapid falls of more than 7%. This "circuit-breaker" mechanism was imposed by the government only 5 months ago after equally dramatic losses. The government has now suspended this measure, not from new-found confidence, but as a further turn of panic.

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