All posts by vd@admin

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – November 25, 2022

Afghanistan
Putin: Forming ‘Truly Inclusive Afghan Govt’ is Priority: Tolo News

Russian President Vladmir Putin said that the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan is a priority for Russia and the countries of the region.Vladmir Putin at the Collective Security Treaty Organization meeting held on Wednesday in Yerevan, Armenia, said that Russia will cooperate to stabilize Afghanistan. Click here to read…

Pakistan to Begin Registration of Afghan Refugees: Tolo News

The Minister for States and Frontier Regions of Pakistan, Talha Mahmood, announced a registration drive for unregistered Afghan refugees in the country, Pakistani media reported. According to Pakistani media reports, the minister said the move will ensure the compilation of complete data of registered and unregistered Afghan refugees as well as those who have gone back to Afghanistan. Click here to read…

Dutch Airstrike of Afghanistan in 2007 Ruled ‘Unlawful’ by Court in the Netherlands: The Khaama Press

A Dutch court found on Wednesday that the bombing of a civilian complex in the central Afghan province of Uruzgan by Dutch forces in June 2007 was “unlawful” and that the Netherlands should compensate for the victims’ losses. Click here to read…

14 People Received Lashes in Eastern Afghanistan for ‘Moral Crimes’: The Khaama Press

The Taliban Head of Information and Culture for the province of Logar, Qazi Rafiullah Samim, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on November 23 that “14 people were sentenced to corporal punishments, 11 of them were men and three were women.” Click here to read…

Bangladesh
Work together to keep 1971 legacy alive: Indian envoy – The Daily Star

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay K Verma has said it is important to work together to keep the legacy of 1971 alive, especially among the younger generations. “That’s a very important task. We should not forget our history,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at the “Maitri Alumni Reunion 2022” held at Old India House yesterday evening. Click here to read…

The Assam factor – Dhaka Tribune

On November 19, 2022, a 55-member parliamentary delegation of Assam arrived in Bangladesh on a four-day visit; Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary led the group. The visit aimed to improve trade and connectivity between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India. Bangladesh welcomed the delegation team with warm hospitality. This visit enhanced the “Assam Factor” of India-Bangladesh relations. In parallel, Assam’s chief minister again lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for showing zero tolerance against terrorism and extremism. These two gestures again indicated the consolidated India-Bangladesh relations. These incidents have significant implications for both Bangladesh and India as it is an inevitable fact that Assam is a key factor in India-Bangladesh relations. Click here to read…

China ships first batch of coaches for Padma Bridge Rail Link Projec – The Business Standard

The first batch of Chinese-made passenger coaches for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project was shipped on Thursday (24 November). The shipment was an initial batch of 15 out of the 100 coaches made by CRRC Tangshan Co, and it departed from the Port of Tianjin, reports the Global Times citing China’s Heibei Daily. The coaches, designed to run at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour and with a broad gauge of 1,676mm, will be used in the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project. The 172-kilometre Padma Bridge Rail Link Project is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Passing through the Padma Bridge, the rail link is a vital channel that connects the trans-Asian railway network, and it is expected to greatly promote regional connectivity and the economic development of Bangladesh. Click here to read…

Bhutan
NC adopts UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime – Kuensel Online

The National Council unanimously adopted the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (TIP) yesterday. All 23 Members of Parliament present in the House voted in favour of the Bill. UNTOC is considered the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organised crimeClick here to read…

Maldives
Maldives to put forward candidatures to the UNSC and ECOSOC – Raajje

Maldives is to put forward candidatures for membership as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2033-2034 and for membership of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), for the term 2027-2029. This decision was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. As such, the ministry revealed that it would be the first time Maldives becomes a member of both principal organs of the UN if successful. Click here to read…

NCGG Receives High Praise From Maldives Government For Its Capacity Building Programme For Maldivian Civil Servants – Orissa Dairy

The Indian delegation led by the Director General of NCGG, Shri Bharat Lal, accompanied by senior officials of the Govt of India, visited the Republic of Maldives from the 19th to 21st of November 2022. They reviewed the ongoing cooperation with the Civil Service Commission of Maldives based on the MoU signed during the State visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2019. As per MoU, in 2019-2024, 1,000 civil servants of Maldives were to be trained. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, a total of 534 civil servants of Maldives were trained in India. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Myanmar, a country in turmoil, emerging as key transit hub for wildlife trade – Down To Earth

It is a worrying new development for those engaged in wildlife conservation. Myanmar, a country at the crossroads of south, southeast and east Asia and for long rocked by political turmoil, may be emerging as a key transit hub for illegal wildlife trade (IWT), according to a new report. Live, exotic animals are being smuggled from the country to India’s Northeast for supply to the “growing and thriving exotic pet trade in India”, the report, by the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), has said. Click here to read…

Technical Problems Ground Myanmar’s JF-17 Fighter Jets Bought From China

Most of the newly acquired Chinese and Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter jets that the Myanmar regime has taken delivery of have been grounded due to technical malfunctions, according to analysts and former Myanmar Air Force pilots who monitor the junta’s air capabilities. The JF-17 fighters—lightweight multi-role combat aircraft jointly manufactured by China and Pakistan—that the Myanmar Air Force has added to its fleet have structural cracks and other technical issues, they told The Irrawaddy. Click here to read…

Religious Intolerance in Myanmar – World Religion News

Along the Bay of Bengal and wrapping around the Andaman Sea is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. It is home to 54 million, with 135 ethnicities. In 2017, there were widespread, well-planned, coordinated and violent attacks against the Rohingya perpetrated by the Burmese military. The military violence continues today and earlier this month extended to the Christian population with the bombing of a Baptist seminary. Click here to read…

Over 370 Indian victims of job rackets rescued from Myanmar – Free Press Journal

Over 370 Indians, who were victims of job rackets, have been rescued from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian mission in Yangon, Bangkok and Consulate in Chiang Mai have been actively pursuing these cases of Indians trapped in fake job rackets in Myanmar. “People from India and other places have got lured, got stuck in Myanmar and some in Laos and Cambodia also,” Bagchi said at a media briefing. Click here to read…

India’s Disturbing Ties with Myanmar Junta – The Irrawaddy

On November 22, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) put out a short, three-point press release announcing the working visit of foreign secretary, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, to Myanmar. Without saying too many things, it revealed one thing very unambiguously – as far as the relationship between the Indian government and the junta is concerned, it is business as usual. Click here to read…

Nepal
Nepal reviewing import ban after IMF prodding – The Kathmandu Post

Nepal is reviewing its seven-month-old import ban on certain products after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) questioned the wisdom of lengthening it since it was hurting trade and the economy. The Washington-based organisation has delayed the second instalment of a $400 million loan to Nepal till February 2023, stating that it had not fulfilled the conditions. Nepal has received $110 million as the first instalment. Click here to read…

Vote count update: NC wins 40 seats; UML 26 and Maoist 12– Khabarhub

Nepali Congress (NC) is still leading as the counting of votes is underway throughout the country. In the initial vote count of the election held on Sunday, Nepali Congress (NC) has taken the lead followed by CPN-UML so far. Till now, NC has won 40 seats and the UML 29. As of now, NC is still leading in 12 constituencies followed by UML, which is leading in 19 constituencies. The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which has won seven seats, is leading in one constituency. Likewise, the Unified Socialist Party led by Madhav Kumar Nepal has won 10 seats. Click here to read…

Early trends in Nepal polls project ‘absolute hung’ Parliament

There are indications that none of the existing pre-poll alliances will cross over 50 per cent or 138-benchmark required to form the government in a House of 275. Normally, any two of the three parties —UML, Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre — together would have formed an alliance to form a government. But this time around, the projection does not seem to be heading in that direction as the UML and Nepali Congress forming a coalition looks unlikely. The Maoist Centre, which has alternatively aligned with these two poles, may not have the decisive size to add to form the majority. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Govt goes by seniority principle for change in command: The Express Tribune

President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday approved a summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment of Lt-Gen Syed Asim Munir as the next army chief and Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), ending days of speculations. Click here to read…

PTI dials down rhetoric, hails top military appointments: The Express Tribune

Hailing the appointments of the next army chief and chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the PTI on Thursday hoped that the new leadership of the armed forces would play its role to strengthen the constitutional rights and democracy in the country. Click here to read…

PM Shehbaz leaves for Turkiye on two-day official visit: Dawn

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday left for a two-day official visit, from November 25 to November 27, to Turkiye at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Click here to read…

‘Fiscal constraints hurting Pakistan’s telecom sector’: The News

Pakistan’s telecom sector has been passing through a difficult patch of fiscal constraints, including one of the highest taxation burdens, devaluation of the exchange rate, withdrawal of Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) and other problems, visiting GSMA head of Asia Pacific said on Thursday.
Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Those who cause violence in the name of human rights cannot be protected – President – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that he will never allow violence and anarchy to prevail under the guise of human rights, adding that if any party engages in such an attempt, the security forces will be used to suppress it completely. Under such circumstances, the President emphasized that everyone from the lower officer of the Army to the rank of Field Marshal is obligated to fulfill their responsibility. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said this delivering a special statement in Parliament yesterday (24). The President further said, “Before I talk about this subject, I must remember two things that I mentioned yesterday. MP Mujibur Rahuman said that three fears have arisen in the President’s mind. I want to tell you that a person cannot have three fears. The three fears occurred in Vishal Mahanuwara. Fear of disease, fear of inhumanity, and fear of death can occur in a group of people. I ask him to listen to the Ratana Sutra to clarify that point. A person never has three fears. Even if there is fear of Marikkar, even if there is fear of Hirunika, and even if there is fear of Rosy, it is not three fears. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka committed to safe, secure Indian Ocean – Minister – Daily News

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC yesterday said Sri Lanka remains committed to safe, secure Indian Ocean and sustainable use of its maritime resources. He said that the X-Press Pearl incident is the worst maritime disaster that Sri Lanka has confronted in modern times. “The vessel was carrying a total of nearly 1,500 containers that included cargo with hazardous substances, in addition to about 325 metric tons of fuel on board. The said disaster is now considered as the largest ship disaster involving plastic pellets, hazardous and noxious materials, in the world”, the Minister said while addressing the 22nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers in Dhaka yesterday. Click here to read…

Export-oriented Market Economy, the Way Forward – Daily News

Glancing through the biography of T. S. Jinasena, the founder of the Jinasena Empire, showed that he hinged his life and his success on disciplined adherence to some simple idioms. This article takes three of TSJ’s idioms and applies them to Sri Lanka and our economic development. ‘You must make hay whilst the sun shines’, ‘You must cut your coat according to your cloth’, Beggars can’t be ChoosersClick here to read…

China: Daily Scan, November 25, 2022

China to fully deliver supportive policies to consolidate economic recovery: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

China will take solid steps to ensure full and effective implementation of the policy package for stabilizing the economy and the follow-up measures, to consolidate the foundation of economic recovery and growth, according to a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Former anti-cult, cyberspace official sentenced to 14 years for taking bribes: Global Times
November 24, 2022

Peng Bo, former deputy head of anti-cult-related activities office and a former cyberspace official, was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 5 million yuan ($700,113) for taking bribes, Wuxi Intermediate People’s Court in East China’s Jiangsu Province announced on Thursday. Click here to read…

China’s commerce ministry vows better support for foreign manufacturing investment: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

The Ministry of Commerce Thursday pledged to better support multinationals in investing in China’s manufacturing sector. Foreign investment is significant to China’s manufacturing upgrades and integration into global industrial and supply chains, the ministry’s spokesperson, Shu Jueting, told a regular press conference. Click here to read…

China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan Port launches sea-rail container transport for NEV exports: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

The Ningbo-Zhoushan Port in east China’s Zhejiang Province has become a new passage for the exports of new energy vehicles (NEVs) via a sea-rail intermodal container transport service. On Thursday, the port saw the arrival of the final 93 cars in the shipment of 402 domestically produced NEVs on a container freight train from neighboring Jiangsu Province. These vehicles will be transferred to a container ship bound for Europe. Click here to read…

New shale gas field reserves of over 140 bln cubic meters discovered in SW China: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, has discovered a new shale gas field, with a proven reserve of nearly 146 billion cubic meters, in the Sichuan basin in southwest China. The new shale gas field is located in Chongqing’s Qijiang District and Xishui County of southwest China’s Guizhou Province, according to Ma Yongsheng, chairman of Sinopec. Click here to read…

China lays out plan for future deep space exploration: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

China will carry out more deep space exploration missions in the next 10 to 15 years, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, in a recent interview. Click here to read…

China releases new national standards for food container safety: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

China’s market watchdog has rolled out three new national standards for food container safety in a bid to step up the quality monitoring of related products and safeguard food security. With new materials and techniques being used in food packaging, the standards aim to enhance quality control for metal containers and fill the quality assessment gap, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation at a press conference on Thursday. Click here to read…

Chinese Navy to host 19th Western Pacific Maritime Symposium in 2024: China Military
November 24, 2022

From November 5 to 9, the Chinese PLA Navy sent a delegation to Yokohama, Japan, to participate in the 18th Western Pacific Maritime Symposium (WPNS), said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, at a regular press conference on Thursday. Click here to read…

Former anti-cult, cyberspace official sentenced to 14 years for taking bribes: Global Times
November 24, 2022

Peng Bo, former deputy head of anti-cult-related activities office and a former cyberspace official, was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 5 million yuan ($700,113) for taking bribes, Wuxi Intermediate People’s Court in East China’s Jiangsu Province announced on Thursday. Click here to read…

China issues dataset of lake-catchment characteristics on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau: Xinhuanet
November 25, 2022

China’s National Tibetan Plateau Data Center (TPDC) has recently issued and shared a dataset of lake-catchment characteristics on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, announced Lanzhou University. A research team from the Center for the Pan-third Pole Environment of Lanzhou University conducted the dataset. It provides fundamental data for the study of lakes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, said Liu Junzhi, professor at Lanzhou University and leader of the team. Click here to read…

10 killed, 9 injured in Xinjiang residential building fire: Xinhuanet
November 25, 2022

Ten people were killed and nine were injured in a fire at a residential building Thursday night in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local authorities said. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 3,041 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhuanet
November 25, 2022

The Chinese mainland on Thursday reported 3,041 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, the National Health Commission said Friday. Altogether 29,654 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified. Click here to read…

China’s carbon reduction drive creates more green jobs: Qiushi
November 25, 2022

Though the forest farm where Niu Yuzhu works in Zhuolu County, north China’s Hebei Province, has been closed since winter, Niu has not stopped his daily patrols. In addition to his patrol work, the 52-year-old has taken on other duties as the farm’s “forest chief,” including formulating forest management and protection plans, mobilizing locals to protect trees, and promoting the implementation of protection measures. He has been engaged in the industry since the age of 18, when he was in charge of tree planting at a state-owned nursery garden in the county. Click here to read…

Monkeypox vaccines in development: China Daily
November 25, 2022

Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm said on Wednesday that it is developing three potential mRNA vaccines for monkeypox. The experimental vaccines have been shown in a study to significantly evoke specific antibodies against monkeypox in mice, the company said in a statement. Click here to read…

China’s top disciplinary agency reveals young officials involved in football gambling: Global Times
November 25, 2022

China’s top disciplinary agency on Thursday disclosed several corruption cases involving young officials and football gambling, as a move to strengthen the education of young officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and as a reminder to eradicate gambling. Public security departments in several regions have issued messages urging netizens to stay away from online gambling amid the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Click here to read…

China to set up pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce in 33 places, including less developed areas: Global Times
November 25, 2022

China’s State Council on Thursday approved the establishment of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce in 33 cities and regions across the country, in a bid to leverage the positive role of cross-border e-commerce in facilitating the transformation, upgrading and digital development of traditional industries and to optimize China’s foreign trade. Click here to read…

Beijing Xiangshan Forum Webinar to highlight Global Security Initiative: Xinhuanet
November 25, 2022

The Beijing Xiangshan Forum Webinar 2022 is set for Dec. 1 and 2, gathering experts and scholars under the theme of promoting the Global Security Initiative and safeguarding peace and development. Click here to read…

Science and Technology (S&T) Digest, 01-15 November 2022, Issue 1

In this Issue

I. Defence and Security
  1. Sonar Systems Developed for the Indian Navy
  2. Five Make II Projects for the Indian Army Approved
  3. DRDO Conducts Flight-Test of Phase-II BMD Interceptor AD-1 Missile
  4. Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles (EV) Setup
II. Emerging Technologies and Applications
  1. Start-up Ideas Taking Shape
  2. Emphasis on Use of Agri-Techs
  3. The Green Energy Open Access Portal Launched
  4. Using S&T in Tackling Environment Problems
  5. Digital Storage of Health Records
  6. Promoting S&T Research through Fellowships
  7. STI Hubs Established for Achieving Inclusive Development
III. International Cooperation
  1. India Looks to Shape the Technology and Digitalization
  2. Agri-Tech Cooperation with BIMSTEC Countries
  3. India-ASEAN Tech Cooperation
  4. S&T Cooperation between the SCO Member States
  5. India-US Tech Cooperation Reviewed
  6. India-Finland STI Cooperation
  7. Indo-German Week of the Young Researchers 2022
IV. Regional and Global Trends
  1. Biden Administration’s Efforts in Building STEMM Ecosystem
  2. Japan Invests to Strengthen Semiconductor Development and Production
  3. FTX’s Collapse Forcing US Lawmakers and Regulators to Regroup
  4. WhatsApp Rolls Out New Features for its Communities
I. DEFENCE AND SECURITY
Sonar Systems Developed for the Indian Navy

Giving impetus to the ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ and India’s ‘Make in India’ commitment, Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) launched Hull Module of Submersible Platform for Acoustic Characterization & Evaluation (SPACE) facility at Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) Kochi recently. It is a state-of-the-art testing and evaluation facility for sonar systems developed for use by the Indian navy onboard various platforms, including ships, submarines and helicopters.
For more information: Click here to read…

Five Make II Projects for the Indian Army Approved

Indian Army is spearheading actions to provide impetus to “Make Projects” as the prime drivers of infusion of niche technologies through indigenous development. To give a further boost to the ongoing projects, Indian Army has now approved Project Sanction Orders (PSOs) of five Make II Projects: High Frequency Man Packed Software Defined Radio (HFSDR); Drone Kill System; Infantry Training Weapon Simulator (IWTS); 155mm Terminally Guided Munitions (TGM); and, Medium Range Precision Kill System (MRPKS). Make II projects are essentially Industry funded projects involving design, development and innovative solutions by Indian vendors for development of prototypes.
For more information: Click here to read…

DRDO Conducts Flight-Test of Phase-II BMD Interceptor AD-1 Missile

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful maiden flight-test of Phase-II Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1 missile with large kill altitude bracket from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on 2 November 2022. The flight-test was carried out with participation of all BMD weapon system elements located at different geographical locations. The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
For more information: Click here to read…

Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles (EV) Setup

The Indian Army through it’s ‘Go-Green Initiative’ has collaborated with TATA Power, India’s largest integrated utility, to setup 16 charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) at various locations in Delhi Cantonment.
For more information: Click here to read…

II. EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS
Start-up Ideas Taking Shape
Number of Start-Ups Increased in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had given a call for “Start-Up India Stand Up India” from the ramparts of Red Fort in his Independence Day address of 2015 that initiated a mass interest, as a result of which the number of Start-Ups in India has increased from mere 350 in 2014 to over 80,000 in 2022 with more than 100 unicorns.
For more information: Click here to read…

Start-Up Needs to Continuously Upgrade Technology

Under the Startup India Plan at Atal Incubation Centre, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Piyush Goyal, interacted with youth engaged in startups in Varanasi on 11 November 2022 and urged them to continuously upgrade technology to find cost effective solutions to benefit society. Over 236 startups had been registered from Varanasi and over 7,000 startups had been registered from across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
For more information: Click here to read…

Promoting Agri-Techs
India International Agro Trade and Technology Fair 2022

Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) has organized “AgroWorld 2022” – India International Agro Trade and Technology Fair 2022 from 9-11 November 2022 at Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Pusa Campus, New Delhi for showcasing the development and modernisations achieved by key stakeholders in major sectors like food, agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries & allied. National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad, was awarded with “India Agribusiness Awards 2022” for supporting various need-based projects for technology upgradation, species diversification in aquaculture, dissemination of new and improved fish varieties, among others.
For more information: Click here to read…

Huge Potential of Agri-Tech Start-ups in J&K

Inaugurating the Start-up summit in Srinagar on 9 November 2022, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Science; Dr Jitendra Singh said that J&K has huge unexplored potential of Agri-tech Start-ups as the geography and climatic conditions here favour the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants. A new wave of Agri-tech Start-Ups has emerged in the country in the last few years and these Start-Ups are solving problems related to supply chain management, cooling and refrigeration, seed management and distribution, besides helping farmers to access a wider range of markets.
For more information: Click here to read…

S&T in Energy
The Green Energy Open Access Portal Launched

In continuation of several initiatives to promote clean and green energy, the Government of India on 11 November 2022 launched the Green Energy Open Access Portal that can be accessed at https://greenopenaccess.in/. The portal provides a transparent, simplified, uniform and streamlined procedure for granting open access to green energy that will be key to facilitating deepening of electricity markets and enabling integration of Renewable Energy (RE) resources into the grid. It is aimed at ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable, and green energy for all.
For more information: Click here to read…

Using S&T in Tackling Environment Problems

The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has decided to tap the technical/ academic expertise of the reputed scientific institutions working in the field of air pollution for joint and augmented approach towards prevention, control and abatement of the menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. After detailed technical and financial evaluation and appraisal, seven (07) proposals have been approved by the Commission, including: Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) tool for vehicle counting by uploading the CCTV footage on Cloud Platform; Addressing Vehicular Traffic Induced Road Dust Re-suspension with Science & Technology (S&T) based Action Plans for Air Quality Improvement; and, An Autonomous Drone Swarm Framework for Real Time Air Quality Monitoring and Pollutant Quantification.
For more information: Click here to read…

S&T in Health
Digital Storage of Health Records

DigiLocker, the authentic documents exchange platform, has successfully completed its second-level of integration with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). The secure cloud-based storage platform of DigiLocker can be used now as a health locker for storing and accessing health records such as vaccination records, doctor prescriptions, lab reports, hospital discharge summaries etc.
For more information: Click here to read…

S&T in Education
Promoting S&T Research through Fellowships

A total of 301 young researchers were selected for support under Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-National Post-Doctoral Fellowship (N-PDF). The selected researchers will work for 2 years in broadly five thematic areas of science and engineering: Chemical Sciences, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical & Mathematical Sciences. In 2015, the fellowship was launched to tap the young budding researchers and support them to graduate to an independent scientist and so far 3800 researchers are benefited.
For more information: Click here to read…

Other Social Sectors
Digital Public Services

The government of India has launched a nation-wide campaign for promotion of Digital Life Certificate (DLC) for Central Government pensioners. In November 2021, it had launched the milestone Face Authentication Technique of submitting Life Certificate through any Android Mobile Phone. This special nation-side campaign will help ‘Ease of Living’ of pensioners.
For more information: Click here to read…

STI Hubs for Achieving Inclusive Socio-Economic Development

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) had so far established 10 exclusive “Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Hubs” in different parts of the country for holistic development of Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. Four out of 10 such STI Hubs had been established in the Northeast, in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura to create sustainable livelihoods for the ST population of North-Eastern States. About 100 new projects were supported during the last three years in diverse technology areas and these projects are expected to benefit more than 50,000 ST population in various regions of the country.
For more information: Click here to read…

III. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
India Looks to Shape the Technology and Digitalization of the World

India which takes over G20 presidency soon, will play a key role in shaping the technology and digitalization of the world. “Technology and digitalisation are going to play a significant role in shaping of the economies, the trades and the multipolar world of the future and India, is sitting there in a sweet spot, to play a significant role in the shaping of that future.” Post-Covid, India has fared way better than other major countries of the world. “The report card of India shows that we have come out with great marks – 200 crore vaccinations, fastest growing economy, highest FDI, while for others it has been unprecedented inflation, recession, lockdowns and shutdowns.” Technology, Digital India, use of technology in government has kept India’s economy chugging on track.
For more information: Click here to read…

Agri-Tech Cooperation with BIMSTEC Countries

On 10 November 2022, India hosted the Second Agriculture Ministerial-level meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) under the chairmanship of the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar where he urged the member countries to cooperate in developing a comprehensive regional strategy to strengthen cooperation for the transformation of agriculture. The Minister said that along with digital farming and precision farming, initiatives under the ‘One Health’ approach are also taking shape in India.
For more information: Click here to read…

India-ASEAN Tech Cooperation

In the Joint Statement on 12 November 2022, India and the ASEAN countries declared to explore fintech cooperation including unified and interoperable digital financial systems between ASEAN and India, which would expand opportunities for businesses and e-commerce.
For more information: Click here to read…

S&T Cooperation between the SCO Member States

On 1 November 2022, the twenty-first meeting of the Council of Heads of Governments (Prime Ministers) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States was held in a video conference format where the heads of delegations noted a growing role of digitalization and innovative technologies in promoting economic growth and sustainable development in the SCO region. They stressed the need to implement the Concept of Cooperation between the SCO Member States in Digitalization and Information and Communication Technologies.
For more information: Click here to read…

India-US Tech Cooperation Reviewed

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden met on the margins of G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali on 15 November 2022 where the two sides reviewed the India-US strategic partnership including bilateral cooperation in future oriented sectors like critical and emerging technologies (CET), advanced computing, artificial intelligence (AI), etc.
For more information: Click here to read…

India-Finland STI Cooperation

A high level delegation led by Finland Minister of Education and Culture, Petri Honkonen met with Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh on 14 November 2022 where the two sides discussed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) including in areas such as Digital Partnership in Future ICT, Future Mobile Technologies and Digital Education. Honkonen assured that Finland is keen to cooperate with India in 5G, Environment and Clean Technologies, Bio-based Economy, BioBanks and Affordable Healthcare.
For more information: Click here to read…

Indo-German Week of the Young Researchers 2022

The Indo-German Week of the Young Researchers 2022, which was inaugurated on 7 November 2022, brought 30 promising young researchers from the two countries together to share their research interests and build long-term research partnerships. The interaction will be the first of its kind among the researchers of two countries in the post-pandemic world. The main goal of the conclave is to foster collaboration among early and mid-career researchers and scientists who will be setting the agenda of scientific cooperation in the near future.
For more information: Click here to read…

IV. REGIONAL AND GLOBAL TRENDS
Biden Administration’s Efforts in Building STEMM Ecosystem

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, and the Kapor Center, on 27 October virtually convened leaders across multiple sectors, who are working to advance equity and broaden participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).
For more information: Click here to read…

Japan Invests to Strengthen Semiconductor Development and Production

Japan is investing 70-billion-yen ($490-million) to beef up semiconductor development and production in a “last chance” attempt to keep its position as a major player on the global technology stage. According to the Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, the new company Rapidus, which means “quick” in Latin, will work on developing next-generation, or “post-5G,” semiconductors.
For more information: Click here to read…

FTX’s Collapse Forcing US Lawmakers and Regulators to Regroup

Bahamas-based FTX, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy on 11 November 2022 and founder Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO after its affiliated trading firm Alameda Research blew through billions of dollars in user deposits on risky bets. Once worth roughly $32 billion, FTX’s value has been wiped out and its customers face a long, potentially fruitless road to getting their money back.
For more information: Click here to read…

WhatsApp Rolls Out New Features for its Communities

The Meta-owned platform WhatsApp has rolled out in-chat polls and will allow file transfer of up to 2GB files, which was limited to up to 16 MB earlier. “WhatsApp is also releasing three more features: the ability to create in-chat polls, 32-person video calling, and groups with up to 1,024 users.
For more information: Click here to read…

West Asia Roundup-October 2022

Abstract:

Iran continued to remain in the throes of protests and increased acts of defiance by the celebrities and common people alike pursuant to the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police for alleged inappropriate clothing. Threats and time lines to stop the protests were given by the authorities, terming these as externally induced and involving the rioting and deaths of policemen and protesters alike, but in vain. Various internal domestic problems like impact of pandemic, sanctions, unemployment and general societal distress and frustrations have combined to add fuel to fire and given further vent to the movement that is targeting the Islamic leadership including the Ayatollah asking them to go. Meanwhile, the attacks and killing of the pilgrims at the holy shrine of Shiraz accentuated the problem even more. More repression may lead to more dissent. Often the question is being asked whether this is the ‘Arab Spring’ moment for the Islamic Republic.

Iranian drones, used by Russia caused their own controversy between Kiev and Tehran even as Tehran maintains that these drones were provided before the war started.

Amidst most of the chaos in the region another rapprochement was the US brokered maritime demarcation and deal between arch enemies Lebanon and Israel as Beirut battles with its economic and political woes. Even the Hezbollah did not object to the deal as it would accrue economic benefits to the Lebanese people as the Lebanese government underplayed it not as normalisation of bilateral relations due to ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict. US remains the guarantor for the Deal that is being perceived as Biden Administration’s extension of the Abraham Accords.

Finally, the jinx was broken and Iraq had its new President who appointed Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as the Prime Minister.

PM Modi spoke to Amir of Qatar and tweeted ‘In his tweet message, the Prime Minister said – “Was happy to speak with HH Amir @Tamim Bin Hamad of Qatar. Thanked him for his gracious Diwali greetings, and conveyed best wishes for a successful @FIFAWorldCup in Qatar. We agreed to jointly celebrate 50 yrs of India-Qatar diplomatic relations in 2023.” The detention of Indian sailors in Qatar remained an issue.

India strongly condemned the terror attack at the Shah-e-Cherag shrine in Shiraz, Iran extending deep condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Iran underscoring that this heinous attack is another reminder that terrorism continues to pose one of the biggest and critical threat to international peace and security and the need of the hour is for countries of the world to unite and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

At the invitation of H.E. Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, paid his first ever official visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 15-16 October 2022. While the entire gamut of bilateral and regional issues was discussed the two sides underlined that India and Egypt traditionally enjoy warm and friendly relations underpinned by historical and cultural linkages. Both countries are celebrating 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations this year. Egypt has been invited as a ‘Guest Country’ during India’s Presidency of G-20 in 2022-23. They also held discussions on regional and global issues including COP 27 hosted by Egypt. Egypt bilateral trade touched a record high at US$ 7.26 billion during FY 2021-22. Indian investment in Egypt exceeds US$ 3.15 billion. Over 50 Indian companies are actively present in Egypt in a range of sectors like manufacturing, chemicals, energy, infrastructure, retail etc. (MEA press release) Recently however, a new agreement was signed in the private sector for nearly $ 8bn to develop cooperation in Hydrogen sector.

On his second visit, Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan paid an official visit to the Sultanate of Oman on 03-04 October 2022 – interaction is part of the periodic exchange of high level visits to reinforce the shared commitment to ever-growing relationship between India and Oman.

More Details …
Protests in Iran

The protest in Iran has continued throughout October demanding social reforms; upliftment of the status of women and regime change. The protest began since mid-September after the death of 22 year old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini on 16 September by the Morality Police. The ill-treatment and death at the hands of Iranian authorities have raised questions about the status of women in Iranian society and day to day harassment stemming from regressive rules of public conduct.

The Iranian authorities in order to quell the protest have resorted to coercive measures; mass arrests of demonstrators and shootings. The security forces have also moved injured protestors from hospitals to detention facilities and declined to release the bodies to their families. In Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province, demonstrators raised slogans calling for the death of the “dictator” implying Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Basij militia. The UN Human Rights Office have criticised Iranian government for the treatment of detained protestors and called for their early release as well as the bodies of the dead protestors.

In light of the nationwide protests, Iranian government blacklisted 12 European Union (EU) officials and eight organisations for reportedly inciting terrorism supporting terrorist groups, propagating violence that led to riots and violation of human rights. The sanctions could lead to ban on entry, visa and confiscation of any assets within Iran. Among the prominent groups facing sanction are the Friends of Free Iran; the International Committee in Search of Justice; Stop the Bomb as well as two informal groups in the European parliament.

Attack on holy shrine in Shiraz

On 26 October, three Islamic State (IS) operatives entered Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz and killed 15 people and injured 40 others. Shiraz is one of most visited cities in Iran for pilgrimage and tourism. The city was attacked earlier in April 2008 after bomb blast killed 14 people. The attack occurred during the ongoing protest in Iran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in his public speeches attempted to link the protests with the shrine attack. Raisi noted that “the intention of the enemy is to disrupt the country’s progress, and then these riots pave the ground for terrorist acts”. Hossein Salami, the top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that “the fire revenge of people of Iran will finally catch up with them and punish them for their shameful deeds”.

IRGC Seizes Foreign Vessel

Iran’s IRGC on 31 October seized the crew and cargo of a foreign vessel transporting 11 million litres or 2.9 million gallons of smuggle fuel. Iranian authorities without disclosing the identity and nationality of the sailors have charged penalty up to 10 times the value of the captured cargo as well as jail sentences. IRGC has increased alert level to curb smuggling in Iran’s southern waters. In September, IRGC captured vessel carrying 757,000 litres or 200,000 gallons of fuel. Smuggling of oil from Iran is lucrative due to allocation of fuel subsidies and cheap currency.

Ukraine Foreign Minister held phone discussion with Iranian counterpart

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on 29 October and appealed to Tehran to stop sending drones to Russia. Ukrainian officials and western allies have accused Iran of providing Shahed-136 attack drones utilised to destroy Ukrainian energy infrastructure causing power cuts in several cities. France, Germany and Britain wrote joint letter calling for a UN enquiry to the use of drones. The use of drones according to the European states breached the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran denied sending weapons to Russia and claimed that exchange of arms stopped during the war with Ukraine. The Iranian Foreign Minister also suggested to the European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell that Iran is willing to participate in the investigation of drones used in Ukraine. Reportedly, on 28 October, Iranians living in Ukraine held protest in Kyiv against Iranian government for providing weapons to Russia.

Israel-Lebanon sign Historic Maritime Deal

Israel and Lebanon signed agreement brokered by the US on 27 October to agree on the maritime boundary for the first time. It has opened the possibility for both states to conduct offshore energy exploration in eastern Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon officially does not recognise Israel. President Michel Aoun signed a letter and submitted to the US officials at Naqoura border point in South Lebanon. Lebanon’s top negotiator Elias Bou Saab said that the deal that ended the long running maritime border dispute marked beginning of a new era. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the deal as political achievement stating that “it is not every day that an enemy state recognises the State of Israel, in a written agreement in front of the entire international community”. Lebanese President Aoun denied that the agreement is indication of normalisation of ties with the Jewish state calling the demarcation of the southern maritime border as technical work and does not have any political implications.

The agreement was brokered after months of indirect talks mediated by the US Envoy for Energy Affairs, Amos Hochstein. The US President Joe Biden said that the agreement will secure the interests of both states and offers a stage for a more stable and prosperous region. Israel began gas production at Karish, an offshore field ahead of the agreement. Reportedly, Qatar’s state-owned Qatar Energy has reached out to the Lebanese government to take control of 30 percent stake in offshore exploration block. Lebanese government also signed an agreement with France’s Total Energies to obtain majority control of the said block. The initial exploration licence was offered to total Energies, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek. In September, Novatek exited from the three part consortium.

New Government in Iraq

Iraqi parliament dominated by Iran-backed Coordination Framework alliance after one year since national election in October 2021 approved a new President, Prime Minister and cabinet. The political situation in Iraq remained in a state of flux due to the inability of the political parties to resolve their differences and approve a new government. The Sadrist bloc led by Muqtada Al-Sadr emerged as winner securing 73 seats in the 329 seat parliament. The Sadrist bloc attempted to deviate from the traditional norm of forming national consensus government with Shiite parties to appoint the Prime Minister, reserved for members of the Shiite community. The attempts by the Save the Homeland coalition under Sadrists; Kurdish Democratic Party and Sunni parties was repeatedly thwarted by Iran backed Coordination Framework composed of the Shiite parties including Fatah Alliance; Nouri Al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition and their Kurdish and Sunni allies.

The Sadrist members of parliament after failure to form government resigned in June. The supporters of the Sadrist movement in order to halt the Iran backed parties to form government stormed the parliament and government buildings in August. The Sadrists clashed with supporters of Iran backed parties leading to at least 30 deaths in the last week of August. The political situation remained volatile and eventually on 13 October, the Coordination Framework led parliament elected Abdul Latif Rashid as the new President who appointed Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. On 27 October, the government of Prime Minister Al-Sudani received the confidence of the parliament with a majority of 253 MPs voted to appoint 21 ministers. The political future of the oil rich Arab state continues to remain precarious further complicated by the influence of external actors especially Iran and the US.

Israel-Palestine Conflict

October has been a violent month in Palestine due to remarkable uptick in number of violent clashes. In fact, from January to October 2022, more than 80 Palestinians including fighters and civilians were killed and at least 20 of them were minors. Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinian teenagers on 7 October in West Bank. In East Jerusalem, Israeli soldier, Noa Lazar was killed by Palestinian fighters on 8 October. On 11 October, Palestinians belonging to the Lion’s Den group killed one moreIsraeli soldier in Shavei Shomron settlement in occupied West Bank. Israeli forces on 14 October killed three Palestinians, two belonging to the Jenin Brigade and one member of Fatah Alliance in separate incidents. On 25 October, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and injured 21 others during raids near Nablus. Israeli forces on 28 Octobershot dead two Palestinians at a military checkpoint near Nablus. According to Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the clash started after the two individuals started shooting at security forces in Hawara checkpoint. Both live in Askar refugee camp outside Nablus and worked for the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Civil Defence department. The PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called the two men as martyrs and among the finest officers and ranks of the Civil Defence and “pioneers of national, organizational and societal work in the Askar refugee camp”. Shtayyeh called the act as organised and racist state terrorism.

On 30 September, a Palestinian individual, Mohammad al-Jaabari killed one 49 year old Israeli settler, Ronen Hanania and injured four others at a checkpoint near the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron raising tensions in the occupied territories. The Palestinian man was killed by Israeli security forces. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

In midst of conflict escalation and military crackdown in occupied territories, Israeli President Issac Herzog met with the US President Joe Biden. Both states avoided mentioning Palestine and the discussion largely focussed on security threat emanating from Iran especially, Iran’s coercive tactics to quell protests; advancement in nuclear programme; supply of lethal weapons to Russia used in killing citizens. The White House reportedly mentioned about the importance of taking steps to de-escalate the security situation in the West Bank.

Saudi Firms emerge as Second Largest Investor in Twitter

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) along with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s private office will maintain their ownership of Twitter shares valued at US$ 1.89 billion after company takeover by tech billionaire Elon Musk. The Saudi firms jointly have emerged as the second largest investors in Twitter. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund owns 16.9 percent share in KHC founded by Bin Talal. The people in Saudi Arabia extensively use the social media platform and in fact it is the eighth largest state in terms of Twitter users.

Musk is seeking to restructure the revenue model by charging money for blue tick Twitter users. Moreover, since the takeover, the scale of hate speeches especially in the US has seen an uptick.

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – November 24, 2022

Afghanistan
Blinken: Qatar Continues to Be Main Transit Point for Afghans: Tolo News

US Secretary Antony Blinken at a press conference said that after the Islamic Emirate took power in Afghanistan Qatar played an indispensable role in helping them relocate tens of thousands of at-risk Afghans, aid workers, diplomats, and others. Click here to read…

US Providing $327 Million In Aid to Afghanistan, Blinken Says: Tolo News

The United States will provide an additional $327 million in aid to Afghanistan to shore up humanitarian assistance, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. “This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighboring countries through international humanitarian organizations,” Blinken said in a statement. Click here to read…

Taliban Requests Afghan Refugees to Abstain from Protesting in Pakistan and Iran: The Khaama Press

Afghan refugees were urged not to participate in the protests since they were Pakistani and Iranian domestic affairs, according to Abdul Rahman Rashid, the Taliban’s deputy minister for refugees and repatriation. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
IORA Council of Ministers meet today – The Daily Star

Bangladesh today hosts the 22nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting in the capital aimed at boosting cooperation among the regional countries to ensure a free, open and secure Bay of Bengal and Asia-Pacific. Ministers, state ministers and assistant ministers from the 23 IORA member states are already in Dhaka to attend the meeting. “We want free, inclusive, secure and peaceful navigation for all without any encumbrance in the region,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters following bilateral meetings with ministers of Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Tanzania and Japan at the Hotel InterContinental yesterday evening. Click here to read…

Jessore rolls out the red carpet for PM Hasina – Dhaka Tribune

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a public meeting in this stadium on December 26, 1972. Jessore, one of the oldest cities in the country, is ready to receive Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday as she is set to attend the first massive political rally of the ruling party outside Dhaka in the lead up to the next general election. People of Jessore and southern parts of the country are enthusiastic about attending the grand rally, as this will be Sheikh Hasina’s first visit to the city in almost five years. Click here to read…

3 binding conditions for IMF loan – The Daily Star

The International Monetary Fund is set to tag three binding conditions and a host of structural reforms for the prospective $4.5 billion loan to Bangladesh, as the Washington-based multilateral lender looks to bring in lasting reforms in the country. The mandatory conditions — which are specific, measurable targets called quantitative performance criteria (QPC) — would be a minimum level of net international reserves and domestic revenue collection and a ceiling on the government’s budget deficit, The Daily Star has learnt from people involved in the negotiations with the IMF staff mission to thrash out the terms for the loanClick here to read…

Bhutan
State set to tie up with Bhutan to develop Buddhist circuit – The Hindu

Bhutan is set to join the league of nations that are setting up monasteries near the Buddhavanam project being executed by the State near Nagarjunakonda. A delegation of Buddhist monks from Bhutan on Wednesday interacted with Minister for Culture V. Srinivas Goud and evinced interest in taking the project to the next level. “Maharashtra, Bihar and other states have a Buddhist circuit. But they don’t have what Telangana has. You have Acharya Nagarjuna,” said Khenpo Ugyen Namgyel, Secretary of Central Monastic Body of Bhutan leading a delegation of 24 monks. Click here to read…

Bhutan joins the seed-sharing initiative – Kuensel Online

Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Nepal, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam signed an agreement to foster cross-country seed-sharing and empower the region’s seed sector yesterday in Thimphu. Called Seeds Without Borders, the agreement aims to speed up the distribution of modern, climate-resilient rice varieties across nations to help vulnerable farmers establish a secure food supply for their families and earn a higher income. Bhutan joined the Seeds Without Borders agreement on June 13, 2018. Click here to read…

Maldives
EU Ambassadors call on pres. ahead of sixth Maldives – EU Policy Dialogue – Raajje

The delegation called on President Solih at the President’s Office, on Wednesday and was headed by The EU Ambassador to Maldives, Denis Chaibi. The delegation included Ambassador of Italy to Maldives Rita Manella, Ambassador of Austria to Maldives Katharina Wieser, Ambassador of Germany to Maldives Holger Seubert, Ambassador of Netherlands to Maldives Bonnie Horbach, Chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Romania Victor Chiujdea, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of France Aurélien Maillet. Click here to read…

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister thanked Indian Govt for its contributions to enhance skills, competence of civil servants of Maldives – News On Air

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid has thanked the Indian Government for its contributions to enhance the skills and competence of civil servants of Maldives. He expressed his gratitude during a meeting held with Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mr. Bharat Lal. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Hun Sen: Myanmar sliding into full-fledged civil war – Phnompen Post

Myanmar is moving towards a full-fledged civil war, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned while addressing senior military leaders from many countries including China and the US at the opening ceremony of the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Siem Reap on November 23. He said the civil war was already underway in some parts of Myanmar. “Cambodia, as the victim of more than three decades of civil war, has useful experience to share in making, building and maintaining peace and building a post-war nation,” he added. Click here to read…

Restoration of democracy in Myanmar is crucial for ‘sustainable’ repatriation of Rohingya, says Japan – UNB

Japan is banking on restoration of democracy in Myanmar for the sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh. “Sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya would be possible after the resumption of democracy in Myanmar,” visiting Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke. Click here to read…

Myanmar Regime and Russia Sign Nuclear Power Plant Memorandum – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s junta signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday with Rosatom, Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation, according to a Rosatom press release. The military regime’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) and Rosatom signed the MOU on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ATOMEXPO-2022 in Sochi, Russia. The proposed nuclear power plants will be based on Russian small modular reactor technology. Click here to read…

US, China defence chiefs meet in Cambodia – Mizzima

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Cambodia on Tuesday, with both sides describing the talks as productive without backing away from their core positions. The rival powers have clashed over a host of issues including Taiwan, security and human rights, but there have been attempts to lower the temperature since a rare summit between the leaders of both countries last week. Click here to read…

ANZ will become first international bank to withdraw from Myanmar – Mizzima

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) said it will withdraw from Myanmar by early 2023, making it the first international bank to withdraw from the country. The withdrawal follows the October 2022 blacklisting of Myanmar by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. Click here to read…

Nepal
China Encroaches On 36 Hectares of Nepal’s Land At 10 Places: Report – NDTV

China’s salami-slice strategy on Nepal’s northern border has resulted in the encroachment of 36 hectares of Nepal’s land at 10 places on the northern border by China. According to the survey document issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, China encroached on 36 hectares of Nepal’s land at 10 places on the northern border. Similarly, the study conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs has concluded that it is necessary to include border issues in the “state policy” of Nepal, reported Meta Khabar. Click here to read…

Vote count update: NC wins 25 seats; UML 15 and Maoist 7 – Khabarhub

Nepali Congress (NC) is still leading as the counting of votes is underway throughout the country. In the initial vote count of the election held on Sunday, Nepali Congress (NC) has taken the lead, followed by CPN-UML so far. Till now, NC has won in 25 constituencies and the UML in 15 constituencies. As of now, NC is still leading in 31 constituencies followed by UML, which is leading in 29 constituencies. The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which has already won five seats, is leading in four constituencies. Click here to read…

Aid or political interference? China finances NGO with links to Nepal former PM Oli’s party ahead of polls – Times Now

China has begun helping political organisations in Nepal. High-level sources speak of financial help from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu to an NGO with political links. The payout is believed to be about one crore Nepalese Rupees. This is being seen by some as interference with the country’s political process. The NGO has strong links with former Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli, president of the Communist Party of Nepal, the CPN-UML Some members of the NGO are contesting the polls as candidates of Oli’s party. The Chinese have good reason to support Oli for Nepal signed a crucial Transit and Transport agreement with China in 2015 when Oli was the PM. Click here to read…

Chen Song to be China’s Nepal envoy – The Kathmandu Post

China has proposed Chen Song, one of its senior diplomats, as the new ambassador to Nepal. Chen is currently deputy director general at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He will replace Hou Yanqi, who has already returned to China after completing her four-year tenure in October. The Chinese side informally communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about its decision to appoint Chen as the new envoy but no official communication has yet been made, according to a foreign ministry official. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Imran insists Alvi will consult him on chief’s selection: Dawn

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has claimed that President Dr Arif Alvi will “definitely” consult him as soon as the summary for the appointment of next army chief reaches his office. Click here to read…

Army role in politics is unconstitutional, says Gen Bajwa: The Express Tribune

Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said on Wednesday the military had started “its catharsis” and would remain apolitical in the future, emphasising that political parties should also reflect on their behaviour so that there was an “elected” government in the country instead of “selected” or “imported” one. Click here to read…

Pakistan continues talks with IMF on flood expenditures: The News

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities are continuing talks for finalising reprioritizing expenditures on floods, including BISP spending and rehabilitation needs besides accelerating reforms to preserve fiscal stability. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
No room for another ‘aragalaya’ – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday emphasized that any attempts to create another Aragalaya (struggle) aiming at changing the government will not be allowed in the country. He said that military will be deployed and Emergency Law will be enforced to prevent such attempts as there is no room for Dinh Diems in this country. “The military will be deployed. Emergency Law will be enforced. Another Aragalaya will not be allowed. I won’t let Dinh Diem’s rule in this country. There is no room for Dinh Diems in this country.” he said. Click here to read…

President calls for All-Party meeting to discuss national issue – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called for an All-Party meeting to discuss and solve the national issue. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, President Wickremesinghe said the meeting can be held during the second week of December. The President noted that once the 2023 Budget process is complete on December 8, all parties can convene for the decisive meeting. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the matter has been discussed on various occasions and various opinions have been expressed and therefore it is imperative that all parties convene and come to a consensusClick here to read…

Towards a new election culture – Daily News

The long-awaited law to limit election campaign funding is to become a reality at last. Cabinet approval was received on Monday for the enactment of the Campaign Finance Bill that will bind all candidates contesting elections, of whatever variety, for their campaign spending to be done under the strict supervision of the National Elections Commission (NEC). In fact, it was formulated in 2016 and was awaiting approval of the Attorney General, which has been finally obtained. Accordingly, the Draft Bill will be gazetted following which it will be presented to Parliament. Once the Bill becomes law, all candidates shall bear responsibility for funding his/her election campaign. In addition he/she will also have to disclose the source(s) of such funding. A ceiling will also be placed on the amount spent on a single electorate while the candidates will also be required to open a Special Elections Account (SEA) which will be the only source from which candidates can withdraw funds for their campaign funding. The new law is a revolutionary step and will go a long way in changing the present election culture which is reeking of corruption. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, November 24, 2022

China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and State Post Bureau to further regulate e-cigarettes delivery: Global Times
November 23, 2022

The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued a notice on Wednesday in which it announced that the capacity of e-cigarette products, aerosol and nicotine used in e-cigarettes carried by each person at each time will be limited. Click here to read…

Chinese authorities boost job creation for nation’s record 11 million graduates: Global Times
November 23, 2022

Chinese authorities are rolling out more policy stimulus to keep payrolls stable and boost job creation for the country’s 11 million graduates, a record high. Insiders said the situation this year is arduous, especially as the resurging epidemic has hindered the progress of traditional face-to-face campus recruitment, and global financial turbulence has cut many firms’ budgets. Click here to read…

Chinese FM refutes allegation of ‘ban’ on Korean dramas, stresses open attitude to latest film imports: Global Times
November 23, 2022

China has imported and distributed many South Korean movies and TV dramas since last year, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday, refuting allegations of the existence of a “restriction” policy on South Korean entertainment content, when asked about media reports that Chinese regulators had allowed South Korean movies to be streamed “after a six-year suspension.” Click here to read…

China’s J-15 carrier-based fighter jet to get domestic engines: Global Times
November 23, 2022

A newly produced J-15 carrier-based fighter jet was fitted with what seems to be a pair of China’s domestically developed engines, according to an official media report on Wednesday, which marked the 10th anniversary of the aircraft’s first takeoff and landing on the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. Click here to read…

China holds policing discussion with officials of Pacific island nations: Reuters
November 23, 2022

China said it held a video meeting to discuss police cooperation with several Pacific island nations on Tuesday, with at least two nations telling Reuters their ministers and police commissioners were unavailable to attend. Click here to read…

China’s top political advisor calls for boosted efficiency in performance of duties: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Tuesday called for efforts to improve the work evaluation system for political advisors so as to boost the efficiency of the performance of their duties. Click here to read…

Chinese defense minister delivers speech at 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus in Cambodia: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Wednesday delivered a speech at the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) here in northwest Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. Click here to read…

Chinese tech giant Huawei joins global digital coalition: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Chinese tech giant Huawei has joined the Partner2Connect (P2C) digital coalition of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), company chairman Liang Hua said Wednesday.
Huawei is committed to helping 120 million people in remote areas connect to the digital world by 2025, Liang said at the 2022 Sustainability Forum. Click here to read…

Chongqing resumes regular passenger flights to Middle East: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Air China flight CA451 recently flew from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport to Dubai, marking the official resumption of regular passenger flights from the southwest China metropolis to the Middle East. The Chongqing-Dubai route is operated by Airbus A330 every Monday and Saturday, according to the airport. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 3,927 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

The Chinese mainland on Wednesday reported 3,927 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, the National Health Commission said Thursday. Altogether 27,517 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified. Click here to read…

Nation ups efforts for hydrogen: Qiushi
November 24, 2022

China’s development of the hydrogen energy industry is on a fast track driven by policy support and market demand, with innovative technologies, new applications and mechanisms constantly emerging, experts said. Click here to read…

Chinese minors’ addiction to online games has been largely solved: Global Times
November 24, 2022

The China Game Industry Research Institute released a report named “2022 China Game Industry Progress Report on the Protection of Minors” on Tuesday together with other departments, which showed that the problem of minors’ addiction to online games has been largely solved. However, what is worrying is that much of the time originally spent on games is now being used to browse short videos. Click here to read…

China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and State Post Bureau to further regulate e-cigarettes delivery: Global Times
November 23, 2022

The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued a notice on Wednesday in which it announced that the capacity of e-cigarette products, aerosol and nicotine used in e-cigarettes carried by each person at each time will be limited. Click here to read…

Chinese authorities boost job creation for nation’s record 11 million graduates: Global Times
November 23, 2022

Chinese authorities are rolling out more policy stimulus to keep payrolls stable and boost job creation for the country’s 11 million graduates, a record high. Insiders said the situation this year is arduous, especially as the resurging epidemic has hindered the progress of traditional face-to-face campus recruitment, and global financial turbulence has cut many firms’ budgets. Click here to read…

Chinese FM refutes allegation of ‘ban’ on Korean dramas, stresses open attitude to latest film imports: Global Times
November 23, 2022

China has imported and distributed many South Korean movies and TV dramas since last year, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday, refuting allegations of the existence of a “restriction” policy on South Korean entertainment content, when asked about media reports that Chinese regulators had allowed South Korean movies to be streamed “after a six-year suspension.” Click here to read…

China’s J-15 carrier-based fighter jet to get domestic engines: Global Times
November 23, 2022

A newly produced J-15 carrier-based fighter jet was fitted with what seems to be a pair of China’s domestically developed engines, according to an official media report on Wednesday, which marked the 10th anniversary of the aircraft’s first takeoff and landing on the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. Click here to read…

Foxconn says it will continue to communicate with employees, govt to avoid disputes: Global Times
November 24, 2022

Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) said on Wednesday that it would continue to communicate with employees and the government to avoid disputes and denied online speculation that employees who tested positive for COVID-19 were living in dormitories in its Zhengzhou facility, after some online videos showed violent incidents taking place. Click here to read…

China unveils financial measures to bolster housing market: People’s Daily
November 24, 2022

China’s financial authorities on Wednesday rolled out 16 steps in the country’s latest move to facilitate the stable and healthy development of the real-estate market. Efforts will be made to stabilize the supply of loans for real-estate development, and support the reasonable demand for individual housing loans, according to a guideline released by the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. Click here to read…

Apple supplier Foxconn apologises for hiring blunder at COVID-hit China plant: Reuters
November 24, 2022

Apple’s major supplier Foxconn (2317.TW) said on Thursday a “technical error” occurred when hiring new recruits at a COVID-hit iPhone factory in China and apologised to workers after the company was rocked by fresh labour unrest. Click here to read…

China sees record daily COVID cases of nearly 30,000 amid lockdowns: Kyodo
November 24, 2022

China reported Thursday a record of nearly 30,000 daily coronavirus cases in the mainland, as the government continues to implement its stringent “zero-COVID” policy involving lockdowns in some areas. New cases stood at 29,754 on Wednesday, according to the National Health Commission, the highest figure since it began releasing the number in the spring of 2020. Click here to read…

Foxconn offers US$1,400 to new hires to leave Zhengzhou factory after violent protests over benefits and Covid-19 controls: South China Morning Post
November 24, 2022

The world’s largest iPhone factory, operated by Foxconn Technology Group in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, has promised to pay each newly-hired worker 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) to leave the campus immediately in a desperate move to end protests that have turned violent. Click here to read…

China to fully deliver supportive policies to consolidate economic recovery: Xinhuanet
November 24, 2022

China will take solid steps to ensure full and effective implementation of the policy package for stabilizing the economy and the follow-up measures, to consolidate the foundation of economic recovery and growth, according to a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – November 23, 2022

Afghanistan
Exhibit Held in Kabul to Display Domestic Products: Tolo News

The Ministry of Industry and Mines (MoIC) said that efforts are underway in support of the private sector and that such exhibitions will be held outside the country to promote markets for Afghan products. “We are hoping for a day that such exhibitions will be held in Arabic countries like the UAE, and other countries like China and Central Asia as well as neighboring countries,” said Nooruddin Azizi, acting Minister of the MoIC. Click here to read…

Afghan Families Sell Belongings to Make Ends Meet: The Khaama Press

According to Martin Schuepp, Director of Operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an average Afghan family can only afford 82% of basic food commodities, expressing concerns over the economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Click here to read…

DABS Says Uzbekistan Technical Issues Caused Rolling Blackout in Afghanistan: The Khaama Press

During a press conference on Monday, November 21, Engineer Safiullah Ahmadzai, Chief Operating Officer of DABS, stated that the cause for the shortage of electricity and subsequent power outages is due to a technical difficulty in Uzbekistan’s gas system. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
BNP’s Dec 10 Dhaka rally: Cops, AL to be on high alert – The Daily Star

Law enforcers have taken all-out measures, including keeping Dhaka city BNP leaders and activists under close watch, to pre-empt “potential subversive activities” centering on the BNP’s Dhaka rally on December 10. Click here to read…

Dhaka should focus more on Indo-Pacific’ – The Daily Star

The Indo-Pacific region has become a focus for the world powers. Dealing with them has become challenging for many countries. How should Bangladesh handle such a situation? Ali Riaz, a distinguished professor at the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, yesterday shared his views with The Daily Star’s Porimol Palma…Bangladesh, and South Asia as a whole, always looked at West Asia and Central Asia, which were the gateways to the world. It is no longer the case now. The whole economy has shifted towards the Indo-Pacific. Also, the geopolitical importance of the region has increased manyfold because of the rise of China. Click here to read…

Military diplomacy: A vital tool to mend Myanmar-Bangladesh ties – Dhaka Tribune

The military cooperation between Myanmar and Bangladesh has a lot of promise. There are several areas where the two countries may engage and work together, with the most essential being the improvement of relations. In a fresh turn of events, a three-person delegation from the Myanmar army met with the Bangladesh army in Dhaka. The two sides talked about promoting regional security and stability as well as the prompt repatriation of the Rohingyas. The Myanmar Army was reminded by the Bangladesh Army to exercise caution when undertaking any operations in the border regions. Click here to read…

Bhutan
ISRO to launch satellite developed by Bhutan – The Tribune

The ISRO is gearing up to launch the next PSLV mission from the spaceport at Sriharikota on November 26, which will carry a Oceansat-3 satellite and eight nano-satellites, including one developed by Bhutan scientists. India had, in September last year, signed an agreement with Bhutan for the joint development of the satellite, which was initiated following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Thimphu in 2019. Click here to read…

Buddhist confederation, monastic body hosting delegation of Bhutanese monks from Nov 22 to 30 – The Print

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], November 22 (ANI): The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) in coordination with the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan is hosting a 24-member delegation of Bhutanese monks who are visiting India from November 22 to 30, said officials.During this tour, the monks are scheduled to visit various religious and Buddhist heritage sites in India including Nagarjuna Konda, Buddhavanam, Amravati, National Museum, and Sankissa, among others. Click here to read…

Maldives
Discussions held on expanding Maldives-Sri Lanka relations in investment, trade – Raajje

The discussions were held between Vice President Faisal Naseem and High Commissioner of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Maldives, Adam Maznavee Jaufer Sadiq. They discussed the exchange of technical and professional expertise between Maldives and Sri Lanka. Discussions have been held on ways to further expand relations in investment and trade, between the governments of Maldives and Sri Lanka. Click here to read…

India retains lead as top tourism market of Maldives this year – NewsOnAir

India has retained its lead as the top tourism market of Maldives this year. Close to two lakh Indian tourists visited Maldives in 2022 so far. The Indian mission in Maldives in a tweet said that India has been the biggest contributer to tourism in Maldives since 2020. The High Commission of India in Male also congratulated Maldives on securing World’s leading destination title for 2022 at the world travel awards earlier this month. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Latest Corruption Charges in Court Appearance – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi denied further corruption charges when she testified on Tuesday in a junta-controlled court, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been a prisoner since the military toppled her government in February 2021, ending the Southeast Asian nation’s brief period of democracy. Click here to read…

NUG Suggests How ASEAN Can Get Meaningful Changes From Myanmar Junta – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s military regime released 402 political prisoners last week as part of its amnesty for nearly 6,000 inmates. The move was hastily embraced by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy for Myanmar, who said the release was a sign of good will and an important gesture suggesting that the ruling junta is ready to change, despite the fact that Myanmar has been in turmoil since last year’s coup. Click here to read…

Siem Reap ADMM Retreat in full swing without Myanmar – Khmertimeskh

The ASEAN defence ministers, except Myanmar, discussed the rapid changes in global security environment as they convened for the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) in Siem Reap yesterday. Besides the ADMM Retreat, held under the theme ‘Solidary for Harmonised Security’, Cambodia is also hosting the 9th ADMM-Plus, the ASEAN-US Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the ASEAN-India Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting from November 21-23. Click here to read…

Nepal
Vote count update: NC wins 12 seats; RSP 4 and UML 3 – Khabarhub

In the initial vote count of the election held on Sunday, Nepali Congress (NC) has taken the lead followed by CPN-UML so far. Till now, NC has won in 12 constituencies and the UML in three constituencies. As of now, NC is leading in 45 constituencies followed by UML, which is leading in 43 constituencies. The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which has already won four seats, is leading in five constituencies. Likewise, the Unified Socialist Party led by Madhav Kumar Nepal has won one seat and is leading in five constituencies. Click here to read…

Poor transfer of Congress votes weighing down coalition partners – The Kathmandu Post

Congress voters seemed reluctant to back other coalition candidates. But they voted for the UML in some places. Preliminary results of the federal and provincial polls held on Sunday suggest the votes of Nepali Congress have not been transferred to other coalition partners. This had been long feared. The transfer from Nepali Congress to CPN (Maoist Centre) was thought to be particularly hard; Congress leaders were among the main Maoist targets during the decade-long bloody insurgency. Nonetheless, an electoral alliance was forged between the Congress, the Maoist Centre, the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Rastriya Janamorcha. Click here to read…

After ballot paper mix-up, calls grow for shift to electronic voting – The Kathmandu Post

In Ilam constituency 1, some 100 ballot papers of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections for the House of Representatives were found dropped into the boxes meant for FPTP votes for the provincial assembly. Similar thing happened at a polling centre in Rukum East. In the press meet after the conclusion of the voting on Sunday, Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya had said they had received several complaints of ballot paper mixup. Following such complaints, the commission decided to count the votes under all four categories—FPTP and proportional representation of both the lower house and provincial assemblies—simultaneously. Click here to read…

Pakistan
PM Office receives summary for top military appointments: Dawn

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Wednesday morning that it has received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a “panel of names” for the appointment of the new chief of army staff (COAS) and the chairman joint chief of staff committee (CJCSC). Click here to read…

Govt shares revised budget framework with IMF: The Express Tribune

Despite the worst flood in the country‘s history and hundreds of billions of rupees in unbudgeted subsidies, Pakistan has initially projected only Rs990 billion fiscal slippages in this financial year, hardly showing a negative impact of Rs55 billion on its revenues. Click here to read…

Row over sugar export further delays crushing: The Express Tribune

In what appears to be a deliberate move, the sugar mills in Punjab have refused to start the sugarcane crushing season from November 25, as a deadlock between the government and mills over permission to export the sweetener persists. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Second Reading of Budget 2023 passed with majority of 37 – The Island

The second reading of Budget 2023 was passed with a majority of 37 votes in Parliament yesterday. The vote taken at 6 pm received 121 votes in favour and 84 votes against. The SJB, JVP, SLFP and SLPP dissidents voted against the Budget. Click here to read…

P627 Patrol Vessel commissioned as Vijayabahu – Daily News

The Offshore Patrol Vessel P627 the most recent addition to the Sri Lanka Navy fleet received from the United States (U.S.) Coast Guard was commissioned as Vijayabahu under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (22). The commissioning ceremony was held at the Colombo Port. The Vessel P627 began her home-bound journey from the Port of Seattle on September 3, 2022 and arrived in Colombo on November 2 after about 10,656 nautical miles (19,734 km) of sea passage. The President as Chief Guest was accorded a Guard of Honour by the Sri Lanka Navy. The President boarded the, SLNS Vijayabahu Vessel accompanied by Navy Commander Vice Admieal Nishantha Ulugetenna and unveiled the ship’s name board. Click here to read…

China Spy Ship Row: Sri Lanka FM Ali Sabry says New Delhi’s sensitivities will be kept in mind – WION

In the backdrop of the visit of Chinese spy ship, Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry has said that Indian “Indian sensitivities will be kept in mind” so that it doesn’t lead to any “unpleasantries” for both the countries. Remember Chinese spy ship or as Beijing has been terming it research vessel research vessel Yuan Wang 5 had visited the Sri Lankan port of hambantota raising concern for New Delhi. Speaking exclusively with our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal from Colombo, FM Sabry said, “everyone who will be entitled will be known in advance, we will have a known procedure in place so that no one is surprised, so therefore it is important we also have the freedom of navigation in the Indian ocean.” Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, November 23, 2022

Chinese scientists develop self-propelled robots to clean up microplastics: Xinhuanet
November 22, 2022

A group of Chinese scientists has developed a kind of micro-robot powered by ion exchanges to remove microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) from water, according to Jinan University, one of its developers. Click here to read…

Hainan issues opinions on tax policy: China Daily
November 22, 2022

Hainan will strive to make good use of the preferential tax policies of the Hainan Free Trade Port, according to a new document released by the General Office of the People’s Government of Hainan Province on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Core components of China-made world’s largest ‘artificial sun’ accomplished, new breakthrough in core technology: Global Times
November 22, 2022

Manufacturing of the core components of the next-generation “artificial sun,” the full-size prototype of the enhanced-heat-flux (EHF) first wall (FW) panel, has been completed in China with its core indexes being significantly better than its design requirements and meeting the conditions for mass manufacturing, marking a new breakthrough by China in the scientific research of the core technology of EHF FW, the Global Times learned from its research team on Tuesday. Click here to read…

China’s top political advisor calls for boosted efficiency in performance of duties: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Tuesday called for efforts to improve the work evaluation system for political advisors so as to boost the efficiency of the performance of their duties. Wang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, made the remarks while presiding over a meeting of the Chairpersons’ Council of the CPPCC National Committee. Click here to read…

China’s new civil servants take career training, constitution oath: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Approximately 195,000 newly-recruited Chinese civil servants have pledged allegiance to the Constitution and completed national training sessions. Held by the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee from Nov. 17 to Nov. 21, the training sessions highlighted the implementation of the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, and reinforced the political, theoretical, conduct and integrity training. Click here to read…

China-supported ICT project completed in Bangladesh: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

The Bangladeshi government, in collaboration with the Chinese government and companies, implemented the country’s ICT (Information and Communication Technology) project which brought thousands of government offices across the country under nationwide connectivityClick here to read…

Chinese technology brand Honor launches operating system: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Honor, a leading provider of smart devices in China, on Tuesday launched its MagicOS 7.0 operating system, which might be compatible with HarmonyOS and iOS in the future. MagicOS 7.0 consists of four core technologies — MagicRing, Magic Live, Turbo X and MagicGuard, realizing the interconnection of different chip platforms and operating systems. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 2,641 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

The Chinese mainland on Tuesday reported 2,641 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, the National Health Commission said Wednesday. Altogether 26,242 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified. Click here to read…

Shanghai to build national climate observatory: Xinhuanet
November 23, 2022

Shanghai will build a national climate observatory by 2025, according to a report in the China Science Daily newspaper on Wednesday. The construction of the climate observatory was approved by the China Meteorological Administration. It will feature a multi-layered climate observation system for megacities to provide a continuous, all-weather and high-resolution climate service. Click here to read…

Policy promotes private pensions: China Daily
November 23, 2022

In a new guideline focusing on the management of private pensions, the Chinese government has outlined plans to develop a multitiered, sustainable social security system to benefit its aging population. Click here to read…

Yinchuan authorities apologize for police officers’ ‘inappropriate manner’ in anti-epidemic work: Global Times
November 23, 2022

Authorities in Yinchuan, Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region issued a statement on Tuesday night, apologizing for the inappropriate manner that some police officers showed in anti-epidemic work, which has triggered heated discussion online in recent days. Click here to read…

Core components of China-made world’s largest ‘artificial sun’ accomplished, new breakthrough in core technology: Global Times
November 22, 2022

Manufacturing of the core components of the next-generation “artificial sun,” the full-size prototype of the enhanced-heat-flux (EHF) first wall (FW) panel, has been completed in China with its core indexes being significantly better than its design requirements and meeting the conditions for mass manufacturing, marking a new breakthrough by China in the scientific research of the core technology of EHF FW, the Global Times learned from its research team on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Global Developments and Analysis: Weekly Monitor, 14 November – 20 November, 2022

Economic
World population hits 8 billion

The United Nations (UN) on Nov 11 called for solidarity in advancing sustainable development as the world’s population hit 8 billion. The UN said in a press release that the 8-billion-mark is “a clarion call” for ­humanity to meet its shared ­responsibility to protect people and the planet, starting with the most vulnerable ones. “Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. While the world’s population is expected to grow to around 10.4 billion in the 2080s, the overall rate of growth is slowing down. The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline. Today, two-thirds of the global population live in a low fertility context, where the lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman. At the same time, population growth has become increasingly concentrated among the world’s poorest countries, most of which are in ­sub-Saharan Africa. Against this backdrop, the global community must ensure that all countries are equipped to provide a good quality of life for their populations and can lift up and empower their most marginalized people, according to the release. Click here to read…

Explainer | 4 weaknesses in China’s economy, from local government finances to poor regulation

Deteriorating local government finances, weak banks and inadequate regulation are among the main risks facing China’s economy, according to senior officials and regulators who have recently published candid assessments following the agenda-setting 20th party congress. Vice-Premier Liu He, central bank governor Yi Gang, Minister of Finance Liu Kun and banking and insurance regulator chairman Guo Shuqing have all reflected on the dangers facing the state-dominated financial system, though they have not outlined specific improvements. None of the officials have made it onto the list of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party – the party’s top decision-making body – unveiled at the 20th party congress, a sign that they may step down from their roles next year. Their views carry weight nonetheless and come amid growing concern about Beijing’s policy direction. Liu He, the top economic adviser to President Xi Jinping, has said China’s economy is facing “triple pressure” from shrinking demand, a supply shock, and weakening expectations. But he has also stressed China would not engage in “flood-like” stimulus, and that the policy focus should be on avoiding economic volatility while aiming for “reasonable” growth. Weakening local government finances have been a growing concern as China’s zero-Covid policy has ramped up fiscal costs, while the slump in the property market has put a dent in local governments’ revenue. Click here to read…

Officials elaborate on new development opportunities in China for foreign businesses

Senior Chinese officials on Nov 15 elaborated on new opportunities for foreign businesses in China’s new development pattern and high-quality development. Speaking to over 200 representatives from foreign businesses attending a meeting, online or in person, Zhao Chenxin, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, stressed the openness of the new pattern of development that features positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows. While fully stimulating and unleashing the potential of its domestic demand, China will in the meantime deepen international economic and trade cooperation and deeply involve itself in the global industrial division of labour and cooperation, Zhao said. In the face of global volatility, China’s new development will offer new opportunities to the world, Zhao said. While one of China’s objectives and tasks for the next five years is to make new strides in reform and opening-up, Vice Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping called on foreign firms to actively seize three opportunities in the period. Sheng cited opportunities in the building of a unified national market, in the institutional opening-up and improved business environment, and in deepened international cooperation. Click here to read…

Top US-China panel urges halt to normal trade relations if no WTO compliance

Congress should suspend normal trade relations with China if Washington determines Beijing has not complied with the World Trade Organization market access agreement it signed decades ago, the US government’s top advisory panel on China policy said on Nov 15. In a sweeping annual report comprising 39 recommendations and covering nearly every aspect of the bilateral relationship, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission also called on US lawmakers to study the feasibility of blockading Chinese energy imports in the event of a military conflict involving Beijing, particularly those transiting the Strait of Malacca. And in the latest sign of Washington’s growing alarm that Chinese leader Xi Jinping may attempt to invade Taiwan, the panel urged Congress to put more manpower into preparing for economic punishment and military resistance against Beijing if it were to attack the self-governed island. “Xi’s personal and strategic ambitions for his and China’s place in history are clearer than they’ve ever been before,” said Alex Wong, the commission’s chairman, on Nov 15. “And so is the need for the United States to take resolute steps to preserve and defend our interests and ideals in response.” The 785-page report comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing flare at their highest level in years, and it reflects the enormous distrust in Washington towards Beijing on essentially every aspect of the relationship – from trade policy to human rights to its sabre-rattling towards Taiwan. Click here to read…

COP27: UN climate summit applauds historic ‘loss and damage’ fund, but disappointed emissions deal

For the first time the nations of the world decided to help pay for the damage that climate change has done to poor countries, but they finished marathon climate talks on Nov 20 with a deal that does more to address the impacts of the burning of fossil fuels than actually fight climate change’s cause. The decision establishes a fund for what negotiators call loss and damage. It is a big win for poorer nations which have long called for cash – sometimes viewed as reparations – because they are often the victims of climate worsened floods, droughts, heatwaves, famines and storms despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe. The agreement struck in this Egyptian Red Sea resort city is a victory for developing nations that have for decades fought for some form of compensation for the “loss and damage” they’re suffering due to floods, droughts, famine, heatwaves and storms worsened by climate change despite emitting a small fraction of heat-trapping carbon pollution. Early on Nov 20 morning, delegates approved the compensation fund but had not dealt with the contentious issues of an overall temperature goal, emissions cutting and the desire to target all fossil fuels for phase down. Click here to read…

Dutch minister says can’t blindly follow US diktat on China chip export curbs

The United States shouldn’t expect the Netherlands to unquestionably adopt its approach to China export restrictions, a senior Dutch official warned, signalling a potential obstacle to the Biden administration’s trade fight. “The Netherlands will not copy the American measures one-to-one,” Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said in an interview with newspaper NRC published on Nov 18. “We make our own assessment – and we do this in consultation with partner countries such as Japan and the US.” The comments marked the first time Dutch officials have publicly outlined their stance on the issue. The Biden administration is pushing for a multilateral agreement to impose restrictions on China, aiming to keep advanced chip technologies away from the country – and its military. Schreinemacher’s statement highlighted the significant challenges the US is facing in persuading allies to join its campaign. While the Netherlands and Japan share many of the US’s security concerns, the two countries also see China as a major market that they would like to maintain access to. The Netherlands are key to the struggle because the country’s ASML Holding NV is one of a handful of companies that dominate the market for semiconductor-manufacturing equipment. Its peers include Applied Materials Inc., Lam Research Corp. and KLA Corp. in the US, and Tokyo Electron Ltd. in Japan. Click here to read…

China open to role in Bangladesh river project under India’s nose

A billion-dollar project to restore and manage a crucial river in Bangladesh is back on the table, with China showing a willingness to fund the endeavour, though even the Chinese ambassador has hinted at potential concerns over how regional rival India might react. The project centers on the Teesta River, which originates in the eastern Himalayas and flows through the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh. The waterway has long been a source of friction between India and Bangladesh: Dam construction in India means farmers in northern Bangladesh lack water in the dry season and face inundation in the wet season. In 2011, the leaders of India and Bangladesh agreed to direct their officials to pursue a deal for sharing water from the Teesta during dry seasons on a “fair and equitable basis.” But a final agreement has been elusive, and this September, after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India, farmers were left disappointed over the lack of progress. Hasina only came away with a nonbinding pact on sharing water from the Kushiyara River, considered less important than the Teesta. According to a study by the Asia Foundation, nearly 21 million Bangladeshis directly or indirectly depend on the Teesta River for their livelihoods. Click here to read…

Indonesia bags pledges for $71bn from G-20 presidency: Jokowi

Indonesia is on a roll. Chairing the Group of 20 major economies this year has propelled it into the global spotlight. The G-20 summit in Bali this week has generally been considered a success, and certainly given a boost to Indonesia’s global standing. The bonus for Southeast Asia’s largest economy is billions of dollars in new investment and funding pledges to support its goal of becoming a low-carbon industrial powerhouse. There is at least $20 billion in financial commitments under the Just Energy Transition Partnership from developed nations. Big names like Amazon, Hyundai Motor and Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) have also made major investment announcements. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo sat down for an exclusive interview with Nikkei Asia on Nov 17 in the aftermath of the Bali gathering. Apart from sharing his inside story on the “fierce” debates over Ukraine during the G-20 meetings, the president talked about funding pledges, support for his new capital city project, Indonesia’s newly-announced 2036 Olympic bid and its chairing of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year. There are a total of 140 projects and programs worth around $71.4 billion. Nearly all of the money is aimed at developing the green economy energy transition. Click here to read…

Artemis puts US in the lead to mine the Moon

NASA has just launched its first rocket in the Artemis program, which will, among other things, take scientific experiments to produce metal on the Moon. In recent years, a number of businesses and organizations have ramped up efforts to establish technologies on the Moon. But doing work in space is expensive. Sending just one kilogram of material to the Moon can cost US$1.2 million. What if we could save money by using the resources that are already there? This process is called in-situ resource utilization, and it’s exactly what astro-metallurgy researchers are trying to achieve. Why the Moon? The Moon has amazing potential for future space exploration. Its gravity is only one-sixth as strong as Earth’s, which makes it much easier to fly things from the Moon to Earth’s orbit than to fly them direct from Earth. And in an industry where every kilogram costs a fortune, the ability to save money is extremely attractive. Although people have been looking at making oxygen and rocket fuel in space for decades, the Artemis program marks the first time we have solid plans to make and use metal in space. What’s out there? There are two main geological regions on the Moon, both of which you can see on a clear night. The dark areas are called the maria and have a higher concentration of iron and titanium. The light areas are called the highlands (or terrae) and have more aluminium. Click here to read…

South Korea, Saudi to boost ties on energy, defence; $30 billion in deals signed

South Korean and Saudi Arabian leaders pledged stronger ties on Nov 17 in the fields of energy, defence industry and building projects, as the oil-rich kingdom signed investment agreements worth $30 billion with South Korean companies. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman he hoped the two nations can expand cooperation, calling the Middle Eastern country a key partner for its economy and energy security. Yoon held talks in Seoul with Prince Mohammed, who arrived on Nov 17 from Bali, Indonesia, where he had participated in a conference of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies. Yoon hoped to see South Korean companies’ participation in projects such as the NEOM smart city project in Saudi Arabia and further cooperation in defence industry and future energy such as hydrogen, his office said in a statement. Prince Mohammed noted the role of South Korean businesses over the years in the development of Saudi Arabia’s national infrastructure and wanted to see stronger cooperation with South Korea based on the trust built between the two countries. “In particular, he said he would like to drastically strengthen cooperation with South Korea in the areas of defence industry, infrastructure and construction,” Yoon’s office said. Earlier, South Korea’s industry ministry said companies including Samsung C&T Corp and POSCO Holdings Inc had signed over 20 agreements with Saudi counterparts in fields such as energy cooperation, railways, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and gaming. Click here to read…

China signs 27-year gas deal with Qatar Energy to secure supply

Qatar Energy has signed a 27-year deal to supply China’s Sinopec with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the longest such agreement to date, as volatility drives buyers to seek long-term supplies. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, competition for LNG has become intense, with Europe, in particular, needing vast amounts to help replace Russian pipeline gas that used to make up almost 40 percent of the continent’s imports. European companies looking to buy LNG needed to look at how Asian buyers were approaching their own negotiations and were willing to lock into long-term deals, Qatar Energy chief Saad al-Kaabi told the Reuters news agency shortly before signing the Sinopec deal. “Today is an important milestone for the first sales and purchase agreement (SPA) for North Field East project, it is 4 million tonnes for 27 years to Sinopec of China,” al-Kaabi said. “It signifies long-term deals are here and important for both seller and buyer,” he said in an interview in Doha, adding that the deal was the LNG sector’s largest single sales and purchase agreement on record. The North Field is part of the world’s biggest gas field that Qatar shares with Iran, which calls its share South Pars. Nov 21’s deal, confirmed by Sinopec, is the first supply deal to be announced for NFE. Click here to read…

Chinese Refiners Seek Government Help To Keep Russian Oil Flowing

Chinese state refiners have sought help from the country’s government to secure the continued flow of Russian crude oil after EU sanctions on the commodity enter into effect next month, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The sanctions—part of an EU embargo on Russian crude—are coordinated with the G7 price cap on Russian oil exports, and involve a ban on the financing, shipping, and insurance of Russian oil cargoes to any country that does not comply with the cap, which has yet to be set.According to the Bloomberg report, some of the solutions on the table include higher volumes of pipeline oil coming from Russia into China, the establishment of a designated bank to handle the payments, and ship-to-ship transfers, which are commonly used in the transportation of sanctioned Iranian oil. Meanwhile, India is also preparing for the EU Russian oil embargo: it has increased its intake of Russian crude, importing 900,000 bpd in October, according to Indian media. The amount was the highest on record and represented 22 percent of India’s total oil imports for that month. According to Bloomberg sources, the Chinese authorities have not yet settled on a solution to the embargo-related challenges to continued supplies of Russian oil. Click here to read…

OPEC cuts oil demand growth forecast again as economic challenges mount

OPEC on Nov 14 cut its forecast for 2022 global oil demand growth for a fifth time since April and also trimmed next year’s figure, citing mounting economic challenges including high inflation and increases to interest rates. Oil demand in 2022 will rise by 2.55 million barrels per day (bpd), or 2.6 percent, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in a monthly report, down 100,000 bpd from the previous forecast. “The world economy has entered a period of significant uncertainty and rising challenges in the fourth quarter of 2022,” OPEC said in the report. “Downside risks include high inflation, monetary tightening by major central banks, high sovereign debt levels in many regions, tightening labour markets and persisting supply chain constraints.” This report is the last before OPEC and its allies, together known as OPEC+, meet on Dec. 4 to set policy. The group, which recently cut production targets, will remain cautious, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister was quoted as saying last week. For October, with oil prices weakening on recession fears, the group made a 100,000 bpd cut to the OPEC+ production target, with an even bigger reduction starting in November. Click here to read…

Germany completes first LNG import terminal

German authorities have inaugurated the first of five planned floating terminals, intended to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven. The country is scrambling to secure energy supplies as it tries to move away from Russian pipeline gas. Germany is reportedly short about 50 billion cubic meters of gas in yearly deliveries as a result of the reduction of imports from Russia. The nation’s previous attempts to diversify gas supplies have contributed to the current energy crunch. EU sanctions pressure, technical problems, as well as the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, have further exacerbated the problem. The facility is expected to become functional around the turn of the year, along with a second floating terminal at the Brunsbuettel North Sea port, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who boasted that the project had been completed in just 200 days. The Wilhelmshaven floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), for utility Uniper, will be moored at an expanded pier and will have the capacity to regasify LNG arriving on tankers. Habeck added that another three FSRUs would be deployed in the coming months – one in Stade on the Elbe River near Hamburg, and two in Lubmin on the Baltic Sea. Another one in Wilhelmshaven will be added in the fourth quarter of 2023. Click here to read…

At least two million Ukrainians will migrate in winter – WHO

This winter may be a “life-threatening” experience for “millions” of Ukrainians, Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe, has warned. Up to three million Ukrainians are expected to migrate “in search of warmth and safety,” Kluge said on Nov 21 during a press conference in Kiev. “We expect 2–3 million more people to leave their homes in search of warmth and safety. They will face unique health challenges, including respiratory infections such as Covid-19, pneumonia and influenza, and the serious risk of diphtheria and measles in under-vaccinated populations,” Kluge stated. Those who remain at home will likely be forced to opt for “alternative heating methods,” the official said, warning that doing things “like burning charcoal or wood, or using generators fuelled by diesel, or electric heaters” carry health risks as well. They include “exposure to toxic substances that are harmful for children, older people and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as accidental burns and injuries,” he said. The ongoing conflict is also taking a heavy toll on the mental health of Ukrainians, according to Kluge. Some 10 million of them are already “at risk of mental disorders such as acute stress, anxiety, depression, substance use and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD,” the official said. Click here to read…

Strategic
Highlights of Xi-Biden meeting ahead of G20 summit in Indonesia

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, had a candid and in-depth exchange of views here on Nov 14 on issues of strategic importance in China-U.S. relations and on major global and regional issues. The following are some of the highlights of their first in-person meeting since Biden became president of the United States. PUT CHINA-U.S. TIES BACK ON TRACK. President Xi pointed out the current state of China-U.S. relations is not in the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and is not what the international community expects. China and the United States need to have a sense of responsibility for history, for the world and for the people, explore the right way to get along with each other in the new era, put the relationship on the right course, and bring it back to the track of healthy and stable growth to the benefit of the two countries and the world as a whole. OPEN, TRANSPARENT DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLICIES. Xi pointed out that the domestic and foreign policies of the CPC and the Chinese government are open and transparent, with clearly stated and transparent strategic intentions and great continuity and stability. Click here to read…

China’s defence minister tipped to lead talks with US military, but sanctions on likely successor may pose early challenge

China is expected to send the outgoing defence minister Wei Fenghe to represent it in the first talks with the United States military since Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this year prompted Beijing to freeze dialogue with the Americans. One major issue China wants to resolve in the talks with Wei’s US counterpart Lloyd Austin is the sanctions imposed in 2018 on Wei’s probable successor, Li Shangfu. Li, a general who was promoted to the Central Military Commission last month, is in line to succeed Wei in March next year. However, Li was sanctioned over China’s purchase of Russian Su-35 combat jets and S-400 air defence missile systems when he was director of China’s Equipment Development Department. The two countries are expected to resume talks, including on military matters, following the meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping on the Indonesian island of Bali on Nov 14. Afterwards Biden told a news briefing that Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan would “be engaging with their counterparts from China”. Beijing suspended dialogues on defence, climate change and cooperation on fighting the international drug trade after the US House speaker’s visit to Taiwan in August, which China regarded as a major breach of its sovereigntyClick here to read…

Top US House Republican Kevin McCarthy vows a hard line on China

The US House of Representatives may form a new panel focused solely on Beijing in the Republican-controlled Congress that begins in January, the Republican Party’s top House lawmaker said on Nov 20. “When I become speaker, I’m going to have a select committee on China,” California representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, said in an interview on Fox News. He vowed to “no longer allow the administration to sit back and let China do what they are doing to America”. The comments were the latest sign of the added pressure from Congress that US President Joe Biden will face to take a hard line on Beijing beginning in January, when the new class of lawmakers is sworn in. Nearly two weeks after the US midterm elections, Republicans have so far narrowly clinched control of the House for the upcoming Congress by one seat, but the final size of their majority remains unclear with five races still too close to call. Democrats retained control of the Senate. McCarthy is vying to become the next Speaker of the House, and to do so, he would need 218 votes from House lawmakers – one more than half of the chamber’s 435 representatives. It is currently unclear if McCarthy will have sufficient support among Republicans to claim the Speaker’s gavel. In an internal party vote last week, Republican House lawmakers voted 188-31 to make him their party’s nominee for Speaker, according to Reuters. Click here to read…

Xi announces 3rd Belt & Road forum to be held in 2023, calls on Asia-Pacific to up cooperation to new height

Addressing the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping commended economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific over the past several decades that has led to an “Asia-Pacific miracle,” and called for the joint building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future and taking Asia-Pacific cooperation to a new height. He also announced that Beijing is to consider holding the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next year to give a new boost to development and prosperity in Asia-Pacific and the wider world. The Chinese president’s remarks at the first in-person APEC economic leaders’ meeting in four years offered a vigorous rebuttal to increasing attempts by certain economies and other forces to actively instigate tension within the region and seriously undermine regional cooperation. They also provided much-needed relief for regional economies that are becoming increasingly uneasy over growing tensions, Asia-Pacific business representatives and analysts noted. At the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and other related events in Bangkok, many attendees also drew a stark contrast between China’s growing leadership role and the US’ diminishing presence. Click here to read…

West African countries mull standby force to suppress region’s insurgencies

Seven member states of the Accra Initiative, a West African security cooperation initiative, are considering setting up a standby military force to deal with armed insurgencies within the region, a Ghanaian minister said Nov 20. Albert Kan Dapaah, the Ghanaian National Security Minister, disclosed this at a press briefing to throw more light on steps so far to protect the territorial integrity of member states and the sub-region in general. “We are seriously considering establishing a standby force, but the form it would take is still under consideration,” Dapaah disclosed. “The respective chiefs of defence staff from our member states have been holding discussions on the details of the standby force, and once we are ready, we would inform the general public on the form it would take,” he said. He disclosed that porous borders in the sub-region and ungoverned spaces in the various countries were some of the key attractions to the armed insurgents and the jihadist groups.”One of our key considerations is ensuring that there are not many ungoverned territories in our member countries. We will also make it difficult for the jihadists to radicalize youth in border communities,” said Dapaah. Click here to read…

Iran rejects draft resolution calling for cooperation with IAEA

The Iranian nuclear chief said on Nov 16 the draft of an anti-Tehran resolution prepared for adoption at the ongoing meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Directors “lacks validity” and is “rejected” by Iran. President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami made the remarks to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, in reaction to Nov 16’s meeting of the IAEA Board of Directors and a potential resolution to be adopted during the session against Tehran, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA. On Nov 15, diplomats revealed that the United States, Britain, France and Germany had submitted a resolution to the IAEA calling on Iran to cooperate fully with the UN nuclear watchdog, according to media reports. Eslami said Iran has an “approved, written and announced” nuclear program and will continue its activities within its framework, noting that AEOI has responded to every allegation made by the IAEA. He added that if relevant parties had the necessary goodwill and sought to continue the negotiations on the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal, they would not have presented the draft of an anti-Tehran resolution. IAEA director general Rafael Grossi has said on several occasions that Iran failed to cooperate with the watchdog after uranium traces were identified at three “undeclared” sites in the country. Click here to read…

Malaysia election 2022: tight race indicates hung parliament for first time ever

Malaysia’s political parties must each present the name of a lawmaker it thinks has the majority support in the lower house of parliament, the palace said on Nov 20 after no coalition secured a majority in Nov 19’s general election. The parties must submit names before 2pm (0600 GMT) on Nov 21, the palace said in a statement, adding that the king’s decision on the new government and appointment of the premier will be final, in line with the constitution. The ruler has the discretion to name the premier whom he believes commands the majority support of lawmakers. The country’s rival blocs are seeking support from others to build a majority alliance to form a government. The king can appoint as prime minister a lawmaker he believes will command a majority in parliament. The country is facing a hung parliament for the first time in its history. Long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition won the most seats in Nov 19’s general election, results from the Election Commission showed. The biggest surprise came from former premier Muhyiddin Yassin who led his Perikatan Nasional bloc to a strong showing, pulling support from the incumbent government’s traditional strongholds. Click here to read…

Philippines to accelerate U.S. defence deal on base access

The Philippines on Nov 15 said it will speed up the implementation of a defence agreement that allows U.S. troops to rotate for extended periods and access local military bases. Manila is also in talks with Washington regarding additional sites to be covered under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, including areas near Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea. “The Department is committed to accelerate the implementation of the EDCA by concluding infrastructure enhancement and repair projects, developing new infrastructure projects at existing EDCA locations, and exploring new locations that will build a more credible mutual defence posture,” the Department of National Defense said in a statement. It added that $66.5 million has been earmarked to implement EDCA projects in agreed locations starting next year, including runway repairs and construction of warehouses for training as well as for humanitarian and disaster response. Signed in 2014, amid increased tensions in the South China Sea, EDCA was aimed at advancing the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines through increased interoperability between both countries’ militaries. But its implementation faced delays under former President Rodrigo Duterte, who forged closer ties with China. Duterte was critical of the EDCA and once threatened to terminate the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement, which facilitates the entry of U.S. troops into the PhilippinesClick here to read…

Voting begins in Nepal amid economic, political stability concerns

The election pits the ruling alliance of the Nepali Congress party, led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and some former Maoist rebels, against the Nepal Communist Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) party. There are no pre-election polls, but political analysts expect the ruling alliance to retain power. Polls close at 5 p.m. (1115 GMT), the Election Commission said. It could take up to two weeks to declare final results. “We need political stability for faster growth of the economy and a government that can guarantee security to investors,” said another voter, Prakash Thapa, 25. About 18 million people are eligible to vote for the 275-member parliament and the 550 members of seven provincial assemblies through a mix of first-past-the-post and proportional representation systems. The government has declared a holiday for Nov 20, which is a working day in Nepal. Political stability has proven elusive for the poor nation, wedged between China and India, discouraging many investors. Nepal has had 10 governments since the abolition of a 239-year-old monarchy in 2008. Political parties have promised to bring down prices, create jobs and boost the economy at nationwide rallies. Click here to read…

N. Korea unveils Kim’s daughter at missile launch site

North Korea has unveiled the little-known daughter of its leader Kim Jong Un at a missile launch site, attracting keen attention on a fourth-generation member of the dynastic family Nov 19 that Kim had observed the launch of its new type of intercontinental ballistic missile with his wife Ri Sol Ju, their “beloved daughter” and other officials the previous day. Kim said the launch of the Hwasong-17 missile — the North’s longest-range, nuclear-capable missile — proved he has a reliable weapon to contain U.S.-led military threats. The main Rodong Sinmun newspaper also released a slew of photos of Kim watching a soaring missile from a distance with his daughter. Other photos showed her with her hair pulled back, wearing a white coat and a pair of red shoes as she walked in hand-in-hand with her father by a huge missile atop a launch truck. It’s the first time for North Korea’s state media to mention the daughter or publicize her photos. KCNA didn’t provide further details about her like her name and age.Much of Kim’s private life is still unknown. But South Korean media reported Kim married Ri, a former singer, in 2009, and that the couple have three children who were born in 2010, 2013 and 2017. Click here to read…

Kishida, Xi agree on closer communication over security

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appeared satisfied after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 17, the first face-to-face talks between the leaders of the two nations in three years. “This was a good start for creating a constructive and stable Japan-China relationship as well as for pushing along dialogue,” Kishida said after the 45-minute meeting. Although Kishida raised a number of Japanese concerns, including Chinese military action near the disputed Senkaku Islands of Okinawa Prefecture, the two leaders agreed to seek closer communication regarding national security issues not only between themselves but at various levels among the two nations. Kishida told reporters that a “frank discussion” was held on not only problem areas between the two nations but also on possible cooperation in the economic sphere and on climate change. The novel coronavirus pandemic created a huge roadblock for bilateral meetings over the past three years. In the meantime, the intensifying friction between China and the United States led to an escalation of military activity by Beijing, especially in relation to Taiwan. Japanese government officials were hoping that Kishida’s meeting with Xi would serve as a catalyst for rebooting the bilateral relationship. “By showing the prime minister meeting with Xi, Xi’s associates and other officials in China, where he has intensified his hold on power, will likely act through their interpretation of what he wants,” a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official said. Click here to read…

Albanese-Xi meeting no panacea but a solid first step

There were smiles all around as the Australian and Chinese leaders met formally for the first time in more than six years. The meeting was brief, just 32 minutes, but Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led afterward with the message that it “was a positive and constructive discussion.” President Xi Jinping said in his opening remarks that the difficulties in the bilateral relationship were not what the Chinese side wanted to see. Yet beyond conciliatory words and photo opportunities, the Australian public is being hit with contrasting takes on what the meeting means for relations with our most important trading partner and the “big guy” in the regional room. On one hand, it’s been described as a “landmark” and “historic” event – a “huge reset” of Australia-China ties. What’s conjured up are images of wine and rock lobster flowing freely through Chinese customs once again, and the detained Australians Yang Hengjun and Cheng Lei stepping off the prime ministerial jet alongside Albanese when it lands in Sydney later this week. Others, however, are keen to moderate expectations. Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned earlier this week that “I don’t think anybody pretends that some of the issues that China has raised, certainly some of the issues that we have raised, will be solved overnight.” The reality is that Canberra and Beijing’s assessments of their respective interests remain far from aligned. Click here to read…

Washington reveals details of high-profile US-Russia talks

The recent unannounced meeting of top Russian and US spies in Ankara was meant to maintain dialogue between two powers, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told US media on Nov 15. Speaking to Bloomberg, Kirby was asked to comment on the talks in Türkiye’s capital, which involved Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and CIA Director Bill Burns. “This was really about keeping the channels of communication with Russia open on issues that affect both our security’s futures,” the official said, adding that Burns’ sit-down with Naryshkin was “all about routine channels of communication” that Washington has with Moscow at various levels. Kirby noted that in recent weeks US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke with their respective Russian counterparts. By doing so, the US is “making sure that… there won’t be any miscalculations,” the official said. At the same time, Kirby didn’t say whether the parties discussed US citizens that are currently in Russian custody, noting that he was not present at the meeting. “The main purpose was to talk about issues around strategic stability,” he said. Previously, the White House said that the Ankara talks didn’t have anything to do with the Ukraine conflict and revolved around nuclear weapons and US citizens that had been detained in Russia. Click here to read…

Top US general warns of reality on the ground in Ukraine

Ukraine’s chances of a near-term military victory over Russia are not high, top US general Mark Milley has cautioned. He noted that despite Kiev’s recent advances on the battlefield and the capture of the city of Kherson, Moscow still has a significant combat presence in the country. Speaking at a news conference at the Pentagon on Nov 16, Milley stated that “the probability of a Ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they define or what the claim is Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily.” The general noted, however, that there was a possibility of a “political solution” that would see Russia withdraw from territories Ukraine claims as its own, adding that Russia “is on its back” right now and that Ukraine needs to negotiate from a “position of strength.” Milley also reiterated Washington’s support for Kiev and vowed to continue for as long as it takes – a statement that was echoed by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also took part in the press conference. Russia, meanwhile, says it will continue its military operation until all the goals are met. Moscow says it ordered its forces to enter the country in late February in order to protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which had been under constant attack from Kiev’s forces since 2014 when a coup overthrew the nation’s elected government. Click here to read…

Russia not seeking a ‘change of power’ in Kiev – Kremlin

Russia is not seeking to depose the current Ukrainian government, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has revealed. He has also expressed confidence that Moscow will achieve its goals in the country, without specifying what they are. When asked by Russian journalists on Nov 21 whether the Kremlin sees regime change in Kiev as one of its military campaign’s objectives, Peskov replied “No, the president has already spoken about that.” The official went on to stress that Russia was determined to achieve its goals in Ukraine, which can be done “by various methods and in various formats.” He also assured reporters that it was not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Earlier, in an interview to AIF newspaper, Vice Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, theorized that relations between Moscow and Kiev could only normalize after a change of leadership in Ukraine. He claimed that the current government in Kiev lacked flexibility and was bound by its previous actions and ideology. Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Click here to read…

Health
COVID-19 pandemic leads to surge in superbug infections, EU agency says

Infections from some antibiotic-resistant pathogens known as superbugs have more than doubled in health care facilities in Europe, an EU agency said on Nov 17, providing further evidence of the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report said reported cases of two highly drug-resistant pathogens increased in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, then sharply jumped in 2021. The surge stemmed from outbreaks in intensive care units of hospitals and in EU countries where antimicrobial-resistant infections were already widespread, ECDC official Dominique Monnet told a news conference. Data showed that in Europe in 2021, reported cases of the Acinetobacter bacteria group more than doubled compared with pre-pandemic annual numbers. Cases of another bacteria, Klebsiella pneumoniae, which is resistant to last-resort antibiotics, jumped by 31 percent in 2020 and by 20 percent in 2021. The report did not include data on how many people died from the infections in 2020 and 2021. Experts say it can be challenging to definitively attribute the cause of death when patients were hospitalized for COVID-19, for example.Some scientists link the rise in hospital-acquired superbug infections during the pandemic to wider antibiotic prescriptions to treat COVID-19 and other bacterial infections during long hospital staysClick here to read…

28 Chinese provinces adopt optimized measures to COVID-19 response; six cities cancel mass testing: report

A total of 28 provinces, including South China’s Guangdong Province which is hit hardest in the latest COVID-19 flare-up, announced adoption of newly optimized measures to COVID-19 response in the past five days. Moreover, six cities, including Shanghai and Sanya scrapped mass nucleic acid testing, in an effort to implement the new measures, media reported. Shandong Province in East China even cancelled the requirement for any entries into the province to hold 48-hour valid nucleic acid test, only requiring the test to be done on arrival and the arrivals to conduct three tests in five days, China Times reported on Nov 16. Guangdong which recorded thousands of cases on a daily basis also adopted the new measures. City of Shantou in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong announced on Nov 16 no longer check 72-hour valid test result in some public places. Shantou recorded one new COVID-19 case on Nov 16. Officials in Guangzhou, also the hardest-hit city in the province, said on Nov 16 to optimize nucleic acid test according to the new measures, and focus test resources on the most severe Haizhu district and other high-risk areas. Those changes were made after China last week released 20 optimized measures, including shortened quarantine periods for international arrivals and cancelation of circuit breakers for inbound flights. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – November 22, 2022

Afghanistan
Acting Min. Muttaqi Meets with Norwegian Charge d’Affaires: Tolo News

The Islamic Emirate’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with Norway’s chargé d’affaires in Afghanistan to discuss political and humanitarian cooperation. Amir Khan Muttaqi said during the meeting that attempting to leverage Afghanistan is useless and that the international community should instead choose the path of engagement. Click here to read…

Kabul Province Students Complain of Lack of Buildings, Teachers: Tolo News

Students complain of a lack of buildings and of teachers in the Khaki Jabbar District of Kabul. They said that the cold weather has made it difficult for them to continue their education and that they lack a proper space to study. “We ask them to build structures for us, because even when it rains we sit here,” said Hasib, a student. “The shop was cold, we came out and here the ground is wet, we ask them to build buildings for us, it’s cold here, we can’t study, we all get sick here,” said Mohammad, another student. Click here to read…

Yesterday’s Military Men, Today’s Coal Mining Workers; Mine Collapse Kills 2 Miners: The Khaama Press

Two military men of the fallen Afghan government, who worked at a coal mine in the northern province of Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country, died after the mine collapsed, local sources said. Click here to read…

Events in motion to have new chief within the week: Dawn

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday sought a defence ministry summary for the appointment of the new army chief, along with the service dossiers of all prospective candidates, as the government seems set to name outgoing Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s successor by Friday. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
New Indian envoy calls on Momen – Dhaka Tribune

Newly appointed Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Praney K Verma yesterday made his maiden call on foreign minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry. Both considers India as the closest and the most important neighbor and termed the relations as “Solid and Unique one”. Momen stressed on Bangladesh as a “Regional Connectivity Hub” and India being the closest neighbor can reap the benefits of the connectivity outlook. He also referred to Indo-Pacific region, stressing upon the need for international rules and norms based free and fair connectivity amongst the countries of the region. Whereas the Indian envoy stressed upon the India’s Presidency of G20 and Bangladesh’s active participation to promote issues of mutual interest in the global discourseClick here to read…

21st century is Asia-Pacific century – New Age

THE US empire is going to face competition in the Asia-Pacific. Years ago, the empire could not have imagined it. The competition will be tougher. To the empire, the Asia-Pacific region was its own yard, a self-sphere for maneuvering, forward positioning to counter the then-Soviet Union and China, dominance, and resource and labor exploitation. All the economic potentialities of the region were within easy reach of the empire. That was the reality, and the empire imagined that this reality would perpetuate. Click here to read…

A red alert indeed – The Daily Star

We are shocked to learn that two militants escaped police custody from the Dhaka court premises on Sunday. Reportedly, four cops were escorting the two death-row convicts along with ten other militants to the prison cell when unidentified individuals attacked a constable, and snatched the two. Both were members of the banned militant outfit Ansar Al Islam, and convicted in the murder cases of slain publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan and blogger Avijit Roy. Such dangerous criminals being on the loose, amid suspicions of a resurgence in militant activities fueled by mysterious disappearances of young men in recent months, is indeed concerning. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Govt. recommends loan rescheduling to resolve NPLs – Kuensel Online

The government has recommended rescheduling the loan repayment period to the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) to resolve non-performing loans (NPL), Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said. Suppose the loan repayment period is extended from 10 to 20 years, it could benefit both the lenders and the borrowers, he said when quizzed by the Nanong-Shumar MP Lungten Namgyel on NPLs in the National Assembly on November 18. Click here to read…

Maldives
Maldives-Mauritius boundary dispute; the unspoken – Edition

For years Maldives has maintained its position regarding the boundary conflict it has with neighboring Mauritius, claiming the former’s decision to vote against the 2019 International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion has never been about supporting colonizers to maintain their colonial control – but rather it was always tied to the fears over Maldives possibly having to relinquish territorial control from part of its border, specifically by the disputed line. Click here to read…

Structural Issues Plague the Fight Against Terrorism in the Maldives – European Eye on Radicalisation

Known for being a popular tourist destination, the Maldives is facing a lesser-known challenge of extremism. It has more than 1,400 extremists residing within the country and is also holds the world’s highest record for foreign terrorist fighters per-capita. With the growing awareness of this challenge, the Maldives has undertaken various institutional, technical, and legal initiatives in recent years to tackle the problem. However, its reforms weigh thin against its broader domestic structural challenges that fuel extremism. Prevalent political, economic and social conditions, directly and indirectly, contribute to the country’s extremist challenges and even fuel them further. Click here to read…

Myanmar
India’s foreign secretary visits Myanmar, discusses border management – Business Standard

India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Monday concluded a two-day visit to Myanmar during which he discussed issues relating to border management and security. Kwatra’s visit came amid escalating violence between ethnic armed organisations and the Myanmar army that could have some impact on the border regions in India’s northeastern states. Click here to read…

Russia, Myanmar Only States to Use Landmines in 2022, Report Says – VOA

Russia and Myanmar are the only two countries to have used antipersonnel mines this year, according to the latest annual report from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Neither country is among the 164 states that are party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Click here to read…

Myanmar crisis: Rights expert urges Korea to play ‘enhanced leadership role’ – UN News

Concluding a six-day official visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), a UN-appointed independent human rights expert urged the country to help reverse the international community’s failure to address the crisis in Myanmar by taking the regional lead in ending violence against civilians there. “The Republic of Korea can play a vital leadership role in denying the Myanmar junta the means to continue holding 54 million people hostage while becoming a leader in providing humanitarian support to those in desperate need’’, said Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, in a statement on Monday. Click here to read…

Nepal
Nepal poll results signal upset – Nepali Times

While early results show that the rivalry between the Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML that dates back 30 years is still as fierce as ever, Nepal’s politics may be seeing the dawn of a new era. The reason for this appears to be mainly that many supporters of the NC and Maoist-Centre voted for independents or rebel candidates, rejecting the alliance of convenience between the right and left-wing parties. Although the UML is also losing a lot of votes to new and independent candidates, the opposition UML appears to have been able to better ride out the storm. Click here to read…

Rastriya Swatantra Party emerges as third largest in initial PR votes count – My Republica

The newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP)-led by Ravi Lamichhane has stood third in the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system in the initial vote counting. According to the EC data, the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has secured 7,881 votes and the CPN-UML 6,486 votes under the PR electoral system. CPN (Maoist Center) is trailing behind the RSP with a total of 2464 votes followed by RPP with a total 1813 votes so far. Click here to read…

Could the rise of Rastriya Swatantra Party boost anti-federal forces? – The Kathmandu Post

The newly formed Rastriya Swatantra Party, which is doing rather well in the federal elections based on votes secured in the early stages of vote-counting, didn’t field candidates in provincial elections. Lamichhane is not the only next-generation leader with reservations over the current provincial setup. Balen Shah, mayor of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, was also seen avoiding casting votes for provincial candidates. After Shah cast his vote in federal elections, the police personnel present at the polling booth appeared to have asked him to also vote for provincial assembly candidates. He ignored the call. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Pak-Afghan border reopens after a week: Dawn

Pakistan on Monday reopened its border with Afghanistan at Chaman, which remained closed for a week hampering trade between the two neighbouring countries as well as the movement of people through the Friendship Gate. Click here to read…

Pakistan’s default risk worsens: The Express Tribune

The perception of Pakistan’s risk of default has worsened with the five-year credit default swap (CDS) surging by 30 percentage points in a week to 93% on Monday ahead of the repayment of $1 billion for a maturing international bond early next month. Click here to read…

Inquiry into Bajwa family tax record leak ordered: The Express Tribune

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has taken serious notice of the illegal and unwarranted leakage of tax information of the family members of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on Monday. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Govt’s intention to resume negotiations on FTAs – Secretary to the President – Daily News

The Government’s intention was to resume negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), said Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake. It is the vision of the President that Sri Lanka will integrate with the global value chains and with the largest economies in South Asia and East Asia and then expand to the eastern region linking to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Further, the Secretary to the President invited private sector stakeholders to creatively engage in this development initiative as they are the ultimate beneficiaries.He made these observations during an awareness session on the resumption of negotiations of Free Trade Agreements held for Trade Chambers and Industry Advisory Committees at the Finance Ministry in November (16). Click here to read…

ADB to help set up University on Climate Change – Daily News

The Commonwealth and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have come forward to help Sri Lanka to set up a University on Climate Change, Senior Advisor to the President and United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene said.He said that the above was agreed during the meetings held on the sidelines of the COP 27 in Egypt. He pointed out that a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea are willing to help Sri Lanka to face the impacts of climate change, adding that the Government intends to discuss with them in the near future. Click here to read…

President assures his support to expand Scout Movement – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured to provide the necessary assistance to expand the Scouting Movement by increasing its membership to 200,000 covering all nine provinces by 2024. The President also mentioned that he would seek the support of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth Affairs for this purpose. The Sri Lanka Scout Association officially conferred the title of Chief Scout and Patronus to President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday morning (21) at the President’s Office, where he made these comments. Click here to read…