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Myanmar Round-Up: January 2023

The month was marked with major developments as the year 2023 is crucial for Myanmar with the announcement of elections. On 31 January, the two years of emergency rule is supposed to end, and the National Defence and Security Council has to conduct elections in the next six months. With the expiry of the emergency rule, one needs to ask whether the elections will take place and, if yes, whether they will be free and fair. The country witnessed many events preceding the elections, with the changes in the elections rules and regulations and the meetings within different groups. Internationally, as the military rule enters its third year, more sanctions were imposed by the western nations and reports by Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights raised concerns over the worsening situation in the country.

Elections 2023

04 January 2023 marked 75 years of the country’s Independence. The military celebrated the day with parading of troops and weaponry. In earlier years, the day was celebrated with great festivities, but since the coup, celebrations have been largely muted. [1] Min Aung Hlaing presided over the parade in which he stated that the regime was preparing for the elections with compilations of voters list and creating household registration data and other personal information. He reiterated that aim is to set up a “genuine, discipline-flourishing” democracy to return the nation to a state of stability and normalcy.[2] In addition, on 06-07 January, the State Peace Talk Team, led by Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, held meetings with representatives of ethnic armed groups, including the United Wa State Party, the National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Shan State Progress Party to discuss plans to hold elections in their areas. [3] The preparation of elections has also led to increased attacks from the resistance side.[4]

The military replaced the 2010 law with the new law on political parties, which bars parties and candidates deemed to have links to individuals or organisations “designated as committing terror acts” or seen as “unlawful”. The parties also need to secure at least 100,000 members within three months of registration and have funds of 100 million Myanmar kyats i.e. 100 times more than previously. The new law also states that the existing parties must apply for registration within two months of the legislation being announced, or they will be “automatically invalidated”. Furthermore, the law restrains the parties from lodging any complaints against the Union Election Commission (UEC) decisions on registration.[5] This clearly will prevent any of the resistance forces from being part of the elections and thereby questions the fairness of the elections.

The military regime-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) also stepped up its efforts to solidify its position ahead of polls. On 05 January, Khin Yi held an informal meeting with 37 pro-military parties to discuss how they could strengthen their position in the upcoming elections. In the 2020 elections, the USDP contested almost all the constituencies but only won 71 seats. [6] Following the meeting, two also met 235 representatives of Yangon-based organisations and charities in Yangon.[7] The pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militias are also forcing voters in Sagaing and Mandalay regions to attend election campaign meetings. [8]

The Acting President Duwa Lashi La of the National Unity Government (NUG) also delivered his speech that 2023 would mark the turning point in the war against military rule and called for continuous revolution with an offensive strategy. The NUG released a New Year Joint Declaration on the People’s Revolution, which has drawn up a one-year plan to eradicate the military dictatorship.[9] They have also called Myanmar’s neighbours and other concerned countries in the Indo-Pacific region to help the people of Myanmar and their legitimate representatives.

There were also statements by Three Brotherhood Alliance and Kachin Independence Organisation chairman General N’Ban La demanding dialogue between all relevant stakeholders without Min Aung Hlaing.[10] The NUG further stated that it had raised more than USD 100 million to fund its movement. About 45 per cent of the funds are from the sales of Spring Revolution Special Treasury Bonds. Funds were also raised through the auction of military-linked properties. Finally, the NUG earned three billion kyats (USD 1.89 million) from collecting taxes in 38 out of 330 townships across Myanmar.[11]

The conflict has intensified within the country, and there has been a 361 per cent increase in airstrikes by the military in February-November 2022, according to data collected by ACLED (Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project). Over the same period in 2021, 81 air strikes were conducted by the side of the military. The military was forced to engage in 3,127 clashes with resistance forces, compared to 1,921 clashes over the same period in 2021, a 94 per cent rise in armed conflict. [12] In addition, a report by the Ministry of Women, Youths and Children Affairs of the NUG stated that Myanmar’s regime had killed at least 265 children and 414 women since the 2021 coup. The NUG’s ministry reported this week that 13 per cent of the victims are female, and nearly 9 per cent are under-18s, including infants.[13]

Economic Situation

The World Bank “Myanmar Economic Monitor: Coping with Uncertainty” report described the ongoing struggle in the country to recover from the twin headwinds, COVID-19 and the military coup. The growth is estimated at 3 per cent for the fiscal year ending September 2023, with per capita GDP expected to remain about 13 per cent below its pre-COVID-19 level. The conflict has disrupted business operations, household incomes remain weak, and as a result, nearly 40 per cent of the country now lives below the poverty line. There has also been an increase in opium production. The UNODC estimated that production in 2022 was around 790 tonnes, and potentially as high as 1,200 tonnes, with an expansion in both the amount grown and the yield per hectare. Much of the increase in opium production has occurred in Shan State.[41] Using a combination of satellite imagery and field reporting, a new UNODC report has found an increase of 33 per cent in opium production since February 2021. [15] To stabilise the economy, the Military Council established the Fund for Uplifting of National Economy with 400 billion kyats and a new fund MSME Development Fund for micro, small and medium enterprises, was set up.[16]

International Developments

Human Rights Watch (HRW), in its report “World Report 2023”, accused Myanmar’s military of war crimes and crimes against humanity since the takeover in February 2021. The report noted that the military had committed mass killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence, and attacks on civilians in conflict areas. Furthermore, the military hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid to communities most at risk. The report called for international commitment through targeted sanctions against the military and emphasised the role that Indonesia needs to play as an ASEAN chair.[17] In another report, HRW accused Japan of transferring over USD one million in 2022 to Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) under the Yokogawa Bridge Corporation project. HRW urged the Japanese government to suspend all ongoing non-humanitarian aid benefitting Myanmar’s military, which has been accused of committing widespread crimes since February 2021.[18]

The Special Advisory Council on Myanmar also released a report noting that several UN member states continue to sell weapons to the military. Around 13 countries, such as the US, India, France, and Japan, are supplying crucial raw materials and machines to Myanmar’s military for the production of a range of weapons. For instance, high-precision machines made by the Austrian supplier GFM Steyr are used in several locations to manufacture gun barrels. Similarly, raw materials, such as copper and iron from China, have been traced to weapons production in Myanmar. The key components, such as fuses and electric detonators, have been acquired from companies in India and Russia, and the software is believed to originate from Israel and France. The number of factories producing arms in Myanmar has multiplied from around six in 1988 to around 25 factories.[19]

As the military rule is about to enter its third year, Canada announced amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations on 31 January. These amendments list an additional six individuals under the Schedule of the Regulations and include a new prohibition on the export, sale, supply or shipment of aviation fuel (wherever situated globally) destined for Myanmar or any person in Myanmar. This is the ninth amendment to the Regulations, and in total, it includes over 150 parties.[20]

With Indonesia taking over as the ASEAN Chair, on 11 January, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced that they would establish a special envoy’s office to enable a national dialogue to address the crisis and allow humanitarian assistance. The official added that ASEAN would also continue to collaborate with the United Nations special envoy in dealing with the Myanmar issue.[21] In response, Myanmar’s military warned ASEAN not to interfere with its internal matters and warned ASEAN not to “engage with any terrorist groups and unlawful associations [recognised] by the Government of Myanmar”.[22] In addition, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, during his two-day visit to Indonesia, urged the Myanmar military to implement peace plans drawn up by the regional grouping.[23]

On the other hand, the meeting between the chief of Thailand’s Defence Forces, Chalermphon Srisawasdi, and Min Aung Hlaing from 19-21 January raised concerns about a uniform approach within the ASEAN members to deal with the Myanmar crisis. The meeting happened shortly after the assets of Min Aung Hlaing’s children and cronies were confiscated in Thailand over their alleged involvement in the illicit drug trade. The annual meeting of both military leaders did not happen in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, despite a Myanmar military offensive on the border raising security concerns, both sides went ahead with the decision to reopen the friendship bridge across Moei River, linking Thailand’s Mae Sot district and Myanmar’s Myawaddy on 16 January. The reopening of the bridge will facilitate the resumption of cross-border activities after three years of closure.[24]

Earlier during the month, China opened three border gates to Myanmar on 08 January, but Myanmar refused to open the gates on its side of the border following fears resulting from surging COVID-19 infection rates in China. These three border gates, Nandaw, Sinphyu and Manwein, have seen the highest levels of border trade between China and Myanmar.[25] Furthermore, Bangladesh requested China to discuss the issue with the Myanmar government to resolve the fresh unrest at the Zero Line on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.[26]

India in Myanmar

As the Myanmar military began airstrikes on Camp Victoria in Chin State, the fallouts of the same could be heard on the border with Mizoram state’s Champhai district near to the camp. As per media reports, at least one shell landed on the Indian side. Due to similar aerial bombardments, tensions have already been reported with Bangladesh and Thailand. However, India hasn’t yet responded in an official manner.[27] Following the bombings, around 200 Myanmar’s nationals crossed the border into Mizoram.[28] Myanmar’s NUG has also urged the Indian government and other neighbouring countries to stop military warplanes from using their airspace.[29] Finally, there are hopes to complete the last 109 km of Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport (KMMTT) project, as IRCON was recently appointed as the Project Management Consultant (PMC).[30]


Amnesty International accused the military of arbitrarily arresting, torturing and murdering people. Since the coup, more than 3,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million have been internally displaced, and more than 13,000 are still detained in inhumane conditions, with four people executed and at least 138 sentenced to death.[31] There is a widespread call for increased collective international action ahead of the anniversary on 01 February 2023. There is an immediate need to implement a global arms embargo on Myanmar and cooperating countries such as China and Russia to suspend any direct or indirect supply of arms and ammunition. Even the supply of aviation fuel to Myanmar needs to be restrained to ensure that aviation fuel will not be used to carry out airstrikes. And most importantly, as the elections need to be held by the end of two years of military rule, it is crucial to engage with all stakeholders and ensure there is a re-establishment of an inclusive democratic and federal system in Myanmar.

Endnotes :

[24]The Thai military also ignored the violation of its airspace by a Myanmar MiG 29 fighter jet in June 2022. https://www.thaipbsworld.com/thai-militarys-close-ties-with-myanmar-junta-compromising-asean-efforts-to-resolve-crisis/

Myanmar Round Up- December 2022

As the country proceeds with the election year 2023, the military and its part Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) are gearing up for elections in 2023, while the National Unity Government is refusing to recognise the elections. The conflict continues between the military and opposition forces, and there is an increasing number of casualties and human displacement. The military court sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to another seven years of prison for corruption charges, with a total of 33 years in prison. During the month, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution asking the military to end violence and release all political prisoners. In the United States, both houses of the legislature passed the BURMA Act, which now awaits President’s approval. Further, due to “no visible progress” on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, ASEAN excluded the Defence Minister from ASEAN Defence Minister’s meeting. Though, Thailand hosted an informal meeting with Myanmar’s military leaders, along with Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Finally, after an informal ceasefire between Arakan Army and Myanmar military, India is speeding up the implementation of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Project, but there are increasing concerns because of human and drug trafficking across India-Myanmar borders. The major national and international developments in December 2022 are discussed in the article below.

Domestic and Political Situation

Myanmar’s military replaced village tract and ward administrators in Yangon with members of the military-backed USDP. The move comes after USDP chair U Khin Yin introduced a security framework for party members. Yangon has been the centre of conflict and has witnessed brutal crackdowns and mass arrests of protesters. The details of the replacement were leaked from the Yangon General Administration Department, which stated the department had permitted to replace 72 village tract and ward administrators and 292 hundred-household heads.[1] China has also launched an outreach to assist the USDP ahead of the elections.

On the other hand, Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG), in an interview with Khmer Times, refused to recognise the elections and claimed that NUG is in control of 60 per cent of the country. He condemned the military Government’s acts of violence and called for ASEAN and other international communities to give them the same support they have been providing to Ukraine. However, he also added that there is room for negotiation and political dialogue but only when the military recognises its fault and “there is punishment for those who committed the hideous crimes”.

Major clashes were reported during the month. The military carried out a three-day attack on Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) base located in Laukkai Township, Shan State. The troops blocked roads and set up checkpoints to search vehicles entering and exiting Laukkai. In 2021, the MNDAA—as part of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee—met with representatives of the Myanmar military, but the agenda and results of the meeting were not disclosed. However, a few days later, the military launched a major offensive against the group in Muse Township. [2]

The opposition forces also carried out attacks on the military. On 17 December, the resistance forces attacked a military air base in Yangon’s Hmawbi Township. Hmawbi People’s Defence Force (PDF) and allied resistance groups claimed responsibility for the attack. Since the coup, the military regime has escalated its airstrikes against PDFs, ethnic armed organisations and civilian targets. As the PDFs lacked anti-aircraft missiles, they started targeting military air bases in Yangon, Mandalay and Magwe regions.[3] Incidents were also reported in Kachin and Mon states and Sagaing, Magwe and Mandalay regions.[4] The military also suffered heavy casualties in clashes with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in Shan State starting on 07 December. After six days of fighting, TNLA gained control of four villages from the military. Later, Myanmar clarified that it was targeting the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs), not the TNLA, and on 17 December, the two sides reached an agreement[5]

In addition, the military is reportedly resupplying its troops in Rakhine State despite an informal ceasefire between the Arakan Army and the military. Furthermore, despite lifting travel restrictions, the regime continues to block the Ponnagyun-Rathedaung and Minbya-Myebon roads and waterways in Ann Township. [6] The NUG, on the other hand, invited more people to join the revolution. In the latest call to soldiers, police and civil servants, the NUG asked them to join the revolution as informants if they can’t defect. The NUG issued the invitation because intelligence needs are growing as the revolution accelerates. NUG’s statement promised protection of the Ministry of Defence and rewards for informants depending on the level of information sent. However, this also raises concerns as now the regime would further tighten restrictions on telecoms and closely monitor phone and internet use among its members.[7]

While the conflicts and violence continue, the military has extended its ceasefire agreement with Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) until the end of 2023. The agreement was extended to boost the peace process in Myanmar.[8] On the contrary, the seven ethnic armed organisations, which are signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), failed to arrange an informal meeting with Myanmar’s regime. The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), New Mon State Party, Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council (KPC), Arakan Liberation Party, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO) and Lahu Democratic Union on 07 December proposed a meeting with Lieutenant General Yar Pyae, Chairman of the National Solidarity and Peace Negotiation Committee. Meanwhile, the Karen National Union (KNU), which is a signatory to the NCA but fighting the regime, said it has no plans to hold talks.[9]

During the month, the final hearings of the Aung San Suu Kyi case were held, and she was sentenced to 33 years of prison in total. In the recent hearing, she was sentenced to seven years on five charges of corruption, thereby totalling 33 years in prison. [10] Meanwhile, in her first public comments, she said she was proud of young Burmese people and all those struggling to defend and fight for democracy. The message was shared via her Australian former economic adviser, Sean Turnell, who was released by the regime in November 2021. In an interview with News 10, he said he met Suu Kyi when they were sentenced.[11]

The month also marked the celebration of the founding of the Myanmar Air Force and Navy. The Chairman of the State Planning and Administration Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, General Min Aung Hlaing, opened the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Myanmar Air Force and Navy, in which new aircraft and helicopters were commissioned into service. The major attraction this year was the acquisition of the Sukhoi Su-30SME fourth-generation multi-purpose fighter aircraft.[12] In addition to the 75th anniversary of Myanmar’s independence celebrations in January 2023, the State Administration Council issued two types of new gold coins; a tical and a half-tical (one tical is approximately equivalent to 16.33 grams).[13]

Economic and Social Situation

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, divested from Yoma Bank after its business with military companies was exposed, according to Justice For Myanmar (JFM). In 2020, Yoma Bank extended a loan to Pinnacle Asia, a Myanmar company owned by Khin Thiri Thet Mon, daughter of military chief Min Aung Hlaing. The loan funded the company’s construction of telecom towers for the military-owned mobile operator, Mytel. IFC has now sold its 4.5 percent stake in Yoma Bank to First Myanmar Investment (FMI) for USD 5 million.[14]

As a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, there has reportedly been a rise in the cost of fertilisers leading to a shortage in the production of food in Myanmar. Myanmar farmers rely on imported fertiliser, and its rising international prices, along with the devaluation of the kyat, have driven up the prices of agricultural inputs. The International Food Policy Research Institute reported that Myanmar’s rice productivity dropped 2.1per cent during last year’s monsoon season. Yields declined significantly in Kayah and Chin states, both affected by conflict and high costs of inputs. IFPRI said the prices of fertiliser based on urea increased by 56per cent and the mechanisation costs rose by 19 per cent, while the paddy prices at the farm rose by just 8per cent. In a separate survey of millers, IFPRI reported that 91per cent of the millers stated limited access to electricity and affordable fuel as their most significant disruptions, leading to a decline in output by 20per cent. However, the regime’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said that the country was sufficiently producing, and the country expects to grow over 17 million acres of paddy in the current fiscal year.[15]

As a result of continued violent attacks, Myanmar nationals have travelled across waters to reach a safe place. This month Sri Lanka Navy rescued 104 distressed Myanmar nationals aboard a passenger vessel in Sri Lanka’s waters. The distressed vessel is reported to have trespassed due to a mechanical failure while it was carrying passengers from Myanmar to Indonesia.[16] Malaysia, on the other hand, lifted the stay on deportation of Myanmar nationals. The court lifted a stay on the deportation of 114 Myanmar nationals, clearing the legal obstacles to their deportation and raising concerns about the likely threats to their safety if sent back to Myanmar. In February 2021, the Malaysian court imposed a stay to delay the deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals, which the government ignored. Despite the High Court imposing a temporary stay, the government deported 1,086 people. The 114 were left behind in immigration detention because they had tested positive for COVID-19.[17]

During the month, three more Burmese journalists were sentenced to prison. The latest victim is Soe Yarzar Tun, a Yangon-based freelancer who was sentenced by the special court inside Yangon’s Insein prison on 16 December to four years in prison with hard labour under Section 52 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.[18] While the cases of human trafficking have increased across Myanmar borders, Brigadier General Aung Htay Myint, head of the Transnational Crime Division, reported that they successfully prevented 81 cases of human trafficking, helping a total of 840 people between 2020 and 2021. He revealed the information during the 5th inter-ministerial meeting of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking – COMMIT, which took on via video link at the Myanmar Police Force headquarters. The meeting was attended by representatives from COMMIT countries — Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and officials from the COMMIT Secretariat. The meeting was chaired by Thailand, and the member countries discussed the development of the Transn,ational Referral Mechanism (TRM) and the designing of a Mekong sub-regional work plan.a href=”#_edn19″ name=”_ednref19″>[19]

International Developments

The major development during the month was the adoption of the resolution on Myanmar by the United Nations Security Council. On 21 December, the 15-member council adopted a resolution which demanded an end to violence and called on the country’s military rulers to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. 12 members voted in favour, but India, China and Russia abstained. The resolution was first tabled in September 2021 by the United Kingdom. The language of the resolution was widely debated to avoid any veto against it from Russia and China.[20]

The Myanmar military, however, rejected the resolution and accused the UNSC of trying to “destabilise” the country. The military released a statement which stated that the resolution includes “several intrusive elements on Myanmar’s internal affairs that contravene the principles and purposes of the United Nations” and instead claimed that the situation in Myanmar was “solely internal affairs” of the country and “in no way poses any risk to international peace and security.” [21] During the month, the United Nations General Assembly Credentials Committee agreed to uphold the status of Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun as the permanent representative of Myanmar to the United Nations. Kyaw Moe Tun was appointed to his position in 2020, but since the military takeover, the military has made numerous attempts to remove him from this position.[22]

Another major international development was the passing of the BURMA Act by both houses of the United States (US) legislature as part of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA). The act aims to provide non-military aid to the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) and its affiliate organisations, including the National Unity Consultative Council, the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) and ethnic armed organisations (EAO). The Burma Act also authorises measures to prevent the military regime from acquiring weapons and expands sanctions against military businesses. The act authorises political support for establishing federalism, as well as humanitarian aid and technical support for anti-military forces. It also promises action against perpetrators of war crimes. The NDAA will help the Myanmar people if brought into law after signing by US President Joe Biden.[23] The US also included Myanmar on the list of 12 countries that are of “particular concern” for religious freedom violations. They reported that the Christian minorities now face persecution similar to what the Rohingya have faced. [24]

Canada became the first country to impose sanctions on Myanmar military jet fuel suppliers, Asia Sun Group, a Myanmar conglomerate. Asia Sun Group is a local partner of the Myanmar military and is involved in procuring, storing and distributing jet fuel. Asia Sun Group’s role in the Myanmar military’s jet fuel supply chain was detailed in the Amnesty International report, Deadly Cargo, with research supported by Justice For Myanmar. In the past few months, the military conducted indiscriminate airstrikes to wage war against anti-military revolutions. Canada also sanctioned key Myanmar military arms brokers, Dynasty International Company Limited and International Gateways Group. The groups have also been sanctioned by the US and UK.[25]

The European Union also excluded Myanmar from the representation at the meeting in Brussels with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 14 December. Since the coup, the EU has imposed rounds of sanctions on Min Aung Hlaing and military-controlled conglomerates and companies, the latest ones being in November 2022.[26] In addition, the EU has allocated around 6.5 million Euros for the support of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in its efforts to tackle the humanitarian food crisis in Myanmar.[27]
Furthermore, ASEAN excluded Myanmar from the ASEAN Defence Minister’s meeting. Defence Minister from major ASEAN events due to “no visible progress” on the implementation of the 5PC<[28] Even Prak Sokhonn, ASEAN’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, cancelled his third announced trip to the country. While it is reported that the visit is cancelled due to time constraints as he has to attend the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit in Brussels, it rather reflects growing tensions between the regional bloc and Myanmar’s military regime.[29] However, Thailand, in contrast, has tried to maintain relations with the military as usual. Thailand hosted interested members of ASEAN to an open-ended consultative meeting on the situation in Myanmar on 22 December. Government ministers of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam met with military representatives to “find pathways towards a return to normalcy”. Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin attended along with Kan Zaw, Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, and Ko Ko Hlaing, Minister for International Cooperation. However, the meeting was not attended by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.[30] Later the NUG strongly urged ASEAN not to waver from its policy of excluding the country’s military leaders from its meetings.[31]

Furthermore, Thailand’s newly appointed Ambassador to Myanmar, Mongkol Visitstump, presented his credentials to the State Administration Council and Prime Minister Min Aung Hlaing on 07 December. He discussed a wide range of issues in bilateral ties, including trade, investment and tourism. The ambassador later met with Soe Win and discussed the long-delayed Dawei Deep Sea project.[32] Thailand also did not officially open any temporary safe zones along the border and did not make any official records of new refugees arriving from Myanmar, further pushing back the Myanmar nationals into the country.

China’s engagement with the Myanmar military gets closer as China delivered six FTC-2000G fighter jets to the regime’s air force. The six fighter jets are currently being checked over at Meiktila airbase in Mandalay Region. The deal for the fighter jets was signed in January 2022, with each fighter plane costing about USD 9 million. Pilots, engineers and armament officers of the Myanmar Air Force visited China in June 2022. These visits relate to the training of the MAF personnel.[33] The month also witnessed the visit of Pakistan Colonel Imran Khan to Myanmar to discuss military cooperation. The two-day visit was from 29 November-01 December. A 10-member team from the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) is currently in Pakistan undergoing training on precision targeting in air operations and on the JF-17 jet fighter.[34]

Moreover, on 02 December, a forum on China-Myanmar economic cooperation was held to enhance economic and investment cooperation between the two countries. The forum was organised by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) with the theme “China’s New Development and China-Myanmar Cooperation”. According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce, during the first half of the 2022-23 fiscal year, China was Myanmar’s largest trading partner.[35] Also, the China-funded Kyaukphyu Anargat (Future) Mobile Clinic project in Myanmar’s Rakhine State entered its final stage in December. The project is already providing free healthcare services to around 1,500 villagers.[36]

During the month, the second Russian trade delegation visited Myanmar to boost bilateral economic ties. Russian economic development minister Maxim Reshetnikov met Min Aung Hlaing and his ministers and signed seven agreements. Min Aung Hlaing and Reshetnikov discussed technical cooperation in arable and livestock farming and iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, mining and energy production. They also discussed the formation of Myanmar-Russian Friendship and Cooperation Associations in Myanmar and plans to boost bilateral cultural cooperation. In addition, the third Intergovernmental Russian-Myanmar Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was held in Naypyidaw.[37]

India and Myanmar

After the informal ceasefire between Arakan Army and Myanmar military, India is pushing for the finalisation of its transport project linking the two countries. Indian Consul Jay Krishna met military-appointed Rakhine State Chief Minister Dr Aung Kyaw Min and discussed the official opening of the Sittwe seaport and its Kaladan River route inland through Rakhine’s Kyauktaw to Paletwa in Chin State. They also discussed the incomplete section of the project — a two-lane highway running 109 kilometres from Paletwa to Zorinpui on the Myanmar-India border. The sea-river-road transport route will link Kolkata with Sittwe Port over the Bay of Bengal.[38]

During the month, the Assam Rifles seized 600 Kg of Brown Sugar in Manipur’s Chandel district bordering Myanmar.[39] Given the rise in the number of seizures along the India-Myanmar border, the Manipur government stated that it set up more outposts. Manipur Chief Minister inaugurated the Sangaithel police outpost in Imphal West district and said that more outposts would also be set up along the India-Myanmar border to check illegal immigration, smuggling activities, and cross-border crimes.[40] The Indian Government is also planning to fence a few spaces of the India-Myanmar border, but several local organisations from Manipur are raising objections against the scheme. The issue was raised in the Indian Parliament on 14 December by Manipur’s representative, Leishemba Sanajaoba. The United Committee Manipur (UCM), an apex body of 32 civil society organisations in Manipur, warned that an agitation opposing the move would be launched if the government goes ahead with the fencing project. The UCM alleged that Myanmar had encroached around 5 km into Manipur along Border Pillar 103 after a visit to the spot by a team of the apex body. According to the annual report of the Indian Home Ministry, only 136 km at the Lohit sub-sector in Arunachal Pradesh and 35 km at Kabaw Valley in Manipur are “undemarcated”.[41]

Way Forward

Marking World Human Rights Day, 08 December 2022, Tom Andrews, the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, urged the world countries to take robust actions for the people of Myanmar. There have also been calls for the British government to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court, as it did with Ukraine. [42] As Myanmar inches closer to the elections in 2023, it is important that all stakeholders are involved in the discussion to conduct free and fair elections. The increasing violence and conflict between the military and opposition forces are creating humanitarian loss and economic and social harm to citizens, which needs immediate attention. Myanmar itself needs to find solutions within its own social and political structures to address this crisis.

Endnotes :

[2] he MNDAA is also a member of the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army. https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/military-launches-major-assault-on-kokang-base-on-china-myanmar-border
[4] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/war-against-the-junta/myanmar-resistance-inflicts-more-casualties-on-junta-forces.html
[12] https://www.scramble.nl/military-news/myanmar-air-force-day
[24]The other eleven countries on the blacklist are China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act 1998. https://www.ucanews.com/news/myanmar-remains-on-us-religious-freedom-blacklist/99631
[33]Designed and manufactured by Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation under the supervision of state-owned aerospace and defence firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the FTC-2000G is a light multi-role trainer and combat aircraft. It is capable of carrying up to 3 tons of missiles, rockets or bombs and is tasked mainly with airstrikes against ground targets, according to aerospace news portal Defence World. It can also be used for flight training, aerial surveillance, patrol missions, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, close-in air support, and air escort missions. The FTC-2000G is in service with the Navy and Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army and costs US$8.5 million per unit. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-takes-delivery-of-ftc-2000g-fighter-jets-from-china.html
[34]The training is believed to be an attempt to fix the problems that have left the MAF’s JF-17s grounded due to technical malfunctions. Myanmar bought 16 JF-17s from China. The first batch of six aircraft was delivered in 2018, but details about the delivery date for the other 10 remain unclear. Myanmar was the first country to buy the JF-17. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-and-pakistan-boost-military-ties.html
[36]Designed by the China International Trust Investment Corporation (CITIC) Consortium and funded by the Yunnan Aid, the mobile clinic project was being implemented by the local civil society organisation Kyaukphyu Socio-Economic Development Assistance Association (KSEDAA) https://english.news.cn/20221225/901aae31441645598734361054399504/c.html

China: Daily Scan, September 21, 2022

Wang Yang meets new leadership of China Islamic Association: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

Senior Chinese leader Wang Yang Tuesday met with members of the newly-elected leadership of the China Islamic Association. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, called for full implementation of the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs and efforts to rally Islamic figures and Muslims closely around the Party and the government for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. Click here to read…

Chinese FM meets with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York on Monday. Wang congratulated Kissinger on his upcoming 100th birthday, calling him an old and good friend of the Chinese people, who has made historic contributions to the establishment and development of China-U.S. relations. Click here to read…

Chinese FM tells American representatives five certainties about China: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday met with representatives from the National Committee on United States-China Relations, the U.S.-China Business Council and the United States Chamber of Commerce. Click here to read…

Deals worth record 960 bln yuan inked at China-Eurasia Expo: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

The total value of deals signed at the seventh China-Eurasia Expo, held from Sept. 19-22 in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has already hit a record level, the event’s organizer said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

BRICS tourism ministers discuss green growth, sustainable development, recovery: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

Tourism ministers from BRICS countries on Monday engaged in in-depth discussions on topics such as green growth, sustainable development and recovery, during a meeting held via video link. Click here to read…

Vast majority of Chinese students return home after studying abroad: Xinhuanet

September 20, 2022

Over 80 percent of all Chinese students have returned to China after finishing their education abroad since 2012, the Ministry of Education said Tuesday. The 2020-2021 academic year saw international students from 195 countries and regions studying in China, up 35 percent from 2012, the ministry said. Click here to read…

China’s Wing Loong-2 large UAV conducts plateau weather observation: China Daily
September 20, 2022

China’s Wing Loong-2 high-altitude large civil unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has recently conducted its first plateau weather observation test, according to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). Click here to read…

COVID-hit Shanghai unveils $257 billion in projects in infrastructure push: Reuters
September 20, 2022

China’s commercial hub of Shanghai on Tuesday announced eight infrastructure projects with total investment of 1.8 trillion yuan ($257 billion), after the city was hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May. The economy of China’s biggest city slumped 13.7% in the second quarter, the worst performance among all 31 of China’s province-level regions. Click here to read…

Hong Kong arrests harmonica player for sedition at Queen Elizabeth’s vigil: Taipei Times
September 21, 2022

A Hong Konger who played a harmonica to a crowd outside the British consulate during Elizabeth II’s funeral was arrested for sedition, police and local media said yesterday. Crowds of Hong Kongers have lined up to pay tribute to Britain’s late monarch this week, some expressing nostalgia for Hong Kong’s colonial past at a time when Beijing is seeking to purge dissent. Click here to read…

Chinese tech giants give up lavish spending, cut costs in the face of economic headwinds: South China Morning Post
September 21, 2022

China’s big internet firms, once known as lavish spenders when it came to external investments and internal employee perks, have tightened their belts in recent months as economic headwinds stiffen and capital support dries up. The second quarter of 2022 has seen a spectacular retreat by China Big Tech as companies slash costs amid weaker consumer spending, regulatory scrutiny and an increasingly tense US-China relationship – a sharp contrast to the past years of freewheeling growth driven by a buoyant economy and a supportive capital market. Click here to read…

Revised code for Communist Party officials lays out quickest ways to lose a job: South China Morning Post
September 21, 2022

Chinese officials who fail to effectively perform in tough and urgent missions, or those who have a vague stance on key political issues, should be sidelined, according to a Communist Party directive recently amended and published on Monday. The code is intended to create a political environment that ensures the capable are promoted, the outstanding are awarded, the mediocre are demoted and the unqualified are abolished, according to the code, which was published by state news agency Xinhua. Click here to read…

Former vice governor of northeast China province arrested: Xinhuanet
September 21, 2022

China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) has ordered the arrest of Hao Chunrong, former vice governor of northeast China’s Liaoning Province, for suspected bribe-taking.
The case was transferred to procuratorial authorities for prosecution following an investigation by the National Supervisory Commission, the SPP said Wednesday. Click here to read…

China plans to build world’s largest national park system: Qiushi
September 21, 2022

China will build the world’s largest national park system, and a layout plan for the system will be released soon, a senior official said on Monday. Li Chunliang, deputy head of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at a news conference that the plan is being drafted in accordance with the requirements of building a system with the largest scale of protection, the most diverse geographical features and the highest conservation value in the world. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 123 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhuanet
September 21, 2022

The Chinese mainland on Tuesday reported 123 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 57 were in Guizhou and 28 in Sichuan, according to the National Health Commission’s report on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Cultural work gets policy push: China Daily
September 21, 2022

On Aug 15, the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, released a national guideline centered on cultural development during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, with the aim of promoting socialist culture and turning China into a country with a strong foundation in culture and art. Click here to read…

Integrating culture and tourism major goal of document: China Daily
September 21, 2022

China recently unveiled its cultural development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, stressing that culture is not only the soul of a country, but also the soul of national governance. Click here to read…

Xi’s thought guides reform of armed forces: China Daily
September 21, 2022

The People’s Liberation Army has been undergoing a historic reform guided by President Xi Jinping since late 2012, when Xi became the top leader of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese military. Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military has also made it clear that pursuing reform and encouraging innovation are key to military’s strength. Click here to read…

China to be a severely aging society by 2035; quick aging, large population pose challenges: health authority: Global Times
September 21, 2022

China will be a moderately aging society in three years with 20 percent of the population aged 60 years and above and become a severely aging society by 2035 when 400 million people are 60 years and above, accounting for 30 percent of the population, a health authority official announced at a Tuesday press briefing where he introduced the country’s arrangement to cope with the scenario. Click here to read…

PLA naval, air forces keep US, Canadian warships’ Taiwan Straits transit in check: Global Times
September 21, 2022

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on Wednesday announced that its troops have kept US and Canadian warships in check when they transited the Taiwan Straits on Tuesday. Click here to read…

China signs cooperation memorandum with Laos, Kazakhstan to establish yuan clearing arrangements: Global Times
September 21, 2022

The People’s Bank of China (PBC), China’s central bank, announced on Tuesday that it has signed a cooperation memorandum with the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Bank of the Lao PDR to establish Chinese yuan clearing arrangements in the two countries. Click here to read…

VIF Cyber Review: June 2022

“Cyber secure India is integral to national security and development”: Union Minister of Home Affairs

Addressing a national conference on cyber security and national security on 20 June 2022, the Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA)— Amit Shah, emphasised the need for public awareness about cyber security being an integral part of national security and the government of India led by Prime Minister Modi is committed to making it robust.

“With the initiatives of PM Modi, India is going forward in all areas, and the usage of technology has been taken to all levels; but if cyber security is not ensured, this strength can become a huge challenge for us. It is important that every Indian understands the challenges of cyberspace so that a secure cyber-India can be created,” said the Minister of Home Affairs. The Government of India is already preparing a National Cyber Security Strategy, which focuses on the need for a legislative framework to address the emerging challenges in the technology space.[1]

Cabinet approved the auction of the IMT/5G spectrum

On 15 June 2022, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Modi, approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications to conduct a spectrum auction for providing 5G services to the public and enterprises. Digital connectivity is integral togovernment initiatives through Digital India, Start-up India, and Make in India. Through these flagship programmes, the government has promoted access to innovative banking/mobile banking, online education, telemedicine, and e-Ration, to “Antyoday” families.

India’s 4G ecosystem is now paving the way for 5G indigenous development. Establishing a 5G test bed in eight of India’s top technology institutes is accelerating the launch of domestic 5G technology in India. The Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) schemes for mobile handsets and telecom equipment, as well as the launch of the India Semiconductor Mission, are expected to help build a robust ecosystem for the launch of 5G services in India. The day is not far off when India will emerge as a leader in the field of 5G technology and the upcoming 6G technology.[2]

“India’s ICT strategy centres on inclusive growth for all sections of society”: Minister of State for Communications

On 01 June 2022, the Minister of State for Communications, Devusinh Chauhan, addressed a session organised by the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) 2022 and said that ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is having a growing impact on our daily lives, as a powerful tool for more inclusive, resilient, and prosperous societies. For the development of reliable ICT infrastructure, around 600,000 villages in India are connected through optical fibre cable, whereas small and remote islands and other inaccessible areas are connected through satellite communication services and submarine cable networks.

During the high-level dialogue on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the minister apprised the audience of the Government of India’s policy initiatives to mobilise AI’s emerging sector. India’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has formulated the way forward to harness the power of AI in various fields, especially in healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation. Emphasising the India-Japan collaborations in the telecom sector, the minister urged the Japanese companies to be part of India’s initiatives in telecom sectors. He also points out that India-Japan collaboration in the area of Open RAN, Massive MIMO, Quantum Communications, Connected Cars, 5G uses cases, and 6G innovation will bring forth the strengths of two ecosystems allowing the creation of leading global solutions.[3]

CERT-In issued an advisory on multiple vulnerabilities in Microsoft Product

On 16 June 2022, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued an advisory— CIAD-2022-0017, regarding multiple vulnerabilities that have been discovered in various Microsoft products which an attacker could exploit to access confidential information, bypass security restrictions, perform a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, escalating privileges, and perform spoofing attacks or executing arbitrary codes on the targeted system.[4]

Cabinet approved MoA by India to set up BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Centre in Sri Lanka

On 14 June 2022, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a Memorandum of Association (MoA) by India for establishing the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Technology Transfer Facility (TFF), which was signed by the BIMSTEC member countries at the 5th BIMSTEC Summit held at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 30 March 2022. As the primary objective, the BIMSTEC TFF are to coordinate, facilitate, and strengthen cooperation in technology transfer among BIMSTEC member nations by promoting the transfer of technologies, sharing of experiences and capacity building. The TFF shall have the Governing Board, and overall control of activities of the TFF shall be vested in the Governing Board[5].

Public Consultation on Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy held in Delhi

A Public Consultation/stakeholder interaction on Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy was organised on 14 June 2022 in New Delhi, India. Over 250 stakeholders from industry, start-ups, academics, think-tanks, international alliances and government officials from various ministries attended the event. Minister of State of Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship— Rajeev Chandrasekhar highlighted the rapid digitisation of the government and Nagriks within India, and the subsequent rise in data volumes necessitates a framework for harnessing the potential of this data. “PM Narendra Modi encourages public consultations as the most effective way to develop policies with wide inputs from a broad universe of stakeholders.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) follows Public Consultation to ensure international standard laws for India’s globally competitive digital economy and startups,” said Minister Chandrasekhar. The draft policy and its solid foundation will focus on improving the institutional framework for government data sharing, promoting privacy and security by design principles, encouraging the use of anonymisation tools, and ensuring equitable access to non-personal data for both the public and private sectors.[6]

G7 agreed to counter cyber threats and disinformation from Russia

On 28 June 2022, the G7 leaders agreed to strengthen their respective countries’ cyber defences against foreign cyber-attacks and disinformation, including threats from Russia. “We commit to strengthen our internal security amidst transnational threats including those posed by Russia and other authoritarian regimes,” read the G7 communique at the end of the Summit held in Germany.[7]

Canadian national police force admitted the use of spyware to hack phones

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) disclosed the information on the usage of spyware to hack mobile devices and gather data, including by remotely turning on the camera and microphone of the suspect’s phone and laptop. However, the RCMP said it only uses such tools in the most serious cases, where less invasive techniques are unsuccessful. Between 2018 and 2020, the RCMP deployed this technique in 10 investigations.

According to the document introduced in the House of Commons (Canada), “the RCMP can use spyware programmes to collect a broad range of data, including text messages, e-mail, photos, videos, audio files, calendar entries, and financial records. The police can also collect “audio recordings of private communications and other sounds within the range of the targeted device, and photographic images of persons, places, and activities viewable by the camera(s) built into the targeted device.”[8]

NATO building cyber response force amid emerging Russian and Chinese threats

On 29 June 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) heads of State and other governments participating in a high-level Summit in Madrid, Spain, announced the creation of the “virtual rapid response cyber capability” to quickly respond to cyber-attacks and other malign activity in cyberspace. According to the Madrid Summit Declaration, NATO plans to bolster its cyber defences through increased civil-military cooperation and expanded partnerships with industry.

“We [NATO] are confronted by cyber, space, hybrid, and other asymmetric threats, and by malicious use of emerging and disruptive technologies. We face systemic competition from those, including China, who challenge our interests, security, and values, and seek to undermine the rules-based international order,” read the document.[9]

Russian hacker group targeted Norway’s public service websites

On 29 June 2022, Norway’s National Security Authority (NSA)’s Director-General Sofie Nystrom informed reporters that the Russian hacker group— Killnet targeted a string of Norwegian public service websites in the latest cyber-attacks. Some websites experienced instability or disruption, but there are no indications that any sensitive or personal information has been compromised. In the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, the Public Administration Portal, the corporate page of an online banking identification service, and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (NLIA) were affected. The website of Norway’s largest newspaper was also down for 25 minutes.[10]

China lured jobseekers into cyber-espionage

At a mysterious tech firm, the graduates of Chinese universities have been bagged to pursue a job. It was discovered that the mysterious firm concealed the actual work, which aimed at analysing western objectives for snooping and interpreting hacked data concerning China’s commercial-scale findings system. The recruitment procedure comprised interpretation assessments on confidential papers accessed from the United States government offices and directions to examine people at Johns Hopkins University as a significant intelligence target. In 2021, a United States court accused the company of espionage for the APT40 hacking association of China.

Western intelligence agencies have made allegations against the Chinese association for invading ministry offices, firms, and universities across the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, following China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS)’s commands. The firm’s selection of recently graduated Chinese University students seems to have unknowingly drawn them into the world of spying. When posting job openings on the universities’ websites, the tech company only mentioned the position as a translator and withheld all other employment-related details.[11]

Endnotes :

[1]HT Correspondent. “Cyber-secure India Key for development: Amit Shah”, Hindustan Times, 21 June 2022, Available from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/amit-shah-calls-for-making-india-cyber-secure-nation-101655711986417.html
[2]Government of India. “Cabinet approves Auction of IMT/5G Spectrum”, Press Information Bureau-Cabinet, 15 June 2022, Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1834126
[3]Government of India. “India’s ICT strategy hinges on inclusive growth for all sections of the society: Shri Devusinh Chauhan at WSIS 2022”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Communications, 02 June 2022, Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1830362
[4]Government of India. “CIAD-2022-0017”, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, 16 June 2022, Available from: https://www.cert-in.org.in/
[5] Government of India. “Cabinet approves MoA by India for establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Centre at Colombo, Sri Lanka”, Press Information Bureau-Cabinet, 15 June 2022, Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1834126
[6]Government of India. “Public Consultation on Draft National Data Governance Framework Policy”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Electronics and IT, 16 June 2022, Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1834520
[7] “G7 to tackle cyber threats and disinformation from Russia: communique”, Reuters, 28 June 2022, Available from: https://www.reuters.com/world/g7-tackle-cyber-threats-disinformation-russia-communique-2022-06-28/
[8]Forrest, Maura. “Canada’s national police force admits use of spyware to hack phones”, Politico, 29 June 2022, Available from: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/29/canada-national-police-spyware-phones-00043092
[9]Demarest, Colin. “NATO forging cyber response force amid growing Russian, Chinese threats”, 30 June 2022, Available from: https://www.c4isrnet.com/cyber/2022/06/30/nato-forging-cyber-response-force-amid-growing-russian-chinese-threats/
[10]Treloar, Stephen. “Russian hackers target Norway in latest volley of cyber attacks”, Bloomberg, 30 June 2022, Available from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-30/russian-hackers-target-norway-in-latest-volley-of-cyber-attacks#xj4y7vzkg
[11]Ghosh, Riya. “China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage”, Tech Story, 02 July 2022, Available from: https://techstory.in/china-lured-graduate-jobseekers-into-digital-espionage/

China: Daily Scan, July 05, 2022

Climate change: melting Tibetan glaciers could unleash potentially dangerous bacteria, scientists say: South China Morning Post
July 3, 2022

Scientists have found nearly 1,000 species of bacteria – many of them new – in glacier samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau, which they say could pose health risks downstream if climate change causes the ice to melt. More than 80 per cent of the microbes identified had not been seen before, according to the team from China, Australia and Denmark, led by scientists from Lanzhou University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Their genetic analysis found that the microorganisms had more than 27,000 molecules that could help the bacteria to make plants, animals or people ill, and nearly half of those molecules were previously unknown. Click here to read…

Chinese FM announces 6 measures to benefit Mekong countries: Xinhunaet
July 4, 2022

Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday announced six measures in the next phase of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) to share with the Mekong countries benefits of cooperation and add momentum to their development. The measures were unveiled at the seventh LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting chaired by the Chinese foreign minister. Click here to read…

Enhanced currency swap agreement signed between PBOC, HKMA: Xinhunaet
July 4, 2022

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced Monday that the Currency Swap Agreement has been enhanced. It has become a long-standing arrangement with no need for renewal. Its size has also been expanded from 500 billion yuan (about 75 billion U.S. dollars) to 800 billion yuan. Click here to read…

Former Everbright official under corruption investigation: China Daily
July 4, 2022

Zhang Huayu, former deputy head of China Everbright Bank, is under investigation for serious violation of Communist Party of China discipline and the national law, according to the country’s top anti-graft bodies. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission issued a statement on Monday saying Zhang had been expelled from the Party and removed from his public post, and his case and illegal gains had been transferred to the procuratorial organ for prosecution. Click here to read…

Himalayan land port becomes regional success: China Daily
July 4, 2022

Born and raised near Gyirong Port, Basang is a beneficiary of the development of one of the largest land ports in the Tibet autonomous region. Located in the Himalayas, the port is 800 kilometers from the regional capital, Lhasa, and about 130 km from the Nepali capital, Kathmandu. Click here to read…

China opens more than 5,000 free blood sampling sites to help family reunions: Global Times
vJuly 4, 2022

China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has released a list of more than 5,000 free blood sampling sites across the country on Monday with the aim to help abducted children and women reunite with their families, as China is launching a national crackdown on human trafficking crimes. Click here to read…

Huawei debuts more new products in summer, as firm still seeks growth areas amid US ban: Global Times
July 4, 2022

Chinese tech giant Huawei on Monday launched a series of new products ranging from phones, smart watches, smart home systems and an electric car named the AITO M7 SUV, as it is still seeking to diversify its sources of revenue amid the years-long US sanctions. Click here to read…

Eastern China cities tighten COVID curbs as new clusters emerge: Reuters
July 4, 2022

Cities in eastern China tightened COVID-19 curbs on Sunday as coronavirus clusters emerge, posing a new threat to China’s economic recovery under the government’s strict zero-COVID policy. Click here to read…

Hacker claims to have stolen 1 bln records of Chinese citizens from police: Reuters

July 4, 2022

A hacker has claimed to have procured a trove of personal information from the Shanghai police on one billion Chinese citizens, which tech experts say, if true, would be one of the biggest data breaches in history. The anonymous internet user, identified as “ChinaDan”, posted on hacker forum Breach Forums last week offering to sell the more than 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin , equivalent to about $200,000. Click here to read…

Chinese warship chases Russian frigate near Japan-controlled Senkakus: Kyodo
July 4, 2022

A Chinese naval ship chased a Russian warship on Monday just outside Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the government said, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate to others that Beijing has sovereignty over the Tokyo-controlled isletsClick here to read…

Chinese ships enter Japanese waters near Senkakus, 15th this year: Kyodo
July 5, 2022

Two Chinese coast guard vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkakus on Tuesday, a day after a Chinese naval ship was spotted near the China-claimed islands, as tensions heighten between Tokyo and Beijing despite the approaching 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties. Click here to read…

Chinese-Canadian tycoon on trial in China: Taipei Times
July 5, 2022

Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua who went missing in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to go on trial in China yesterday, the Canadian embassy in Beijing said. China-born Xiao, known to have links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated amid a state-led conglomerate crackdown. The specifics of the probe have not been disclosed by officials. Click here to read…

US-China relations: economic chief Liu He, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hold ‘pragmatic, frank’ exchange: South China Morning Post
July 5, 2022

Top economic officials from China and the United States held a long-awaited meeting on Tuesday, with the Biden administration reportedly mulling the rolling back of tariffs on Chinese products to help curb America’s 40-year-high inflation. During the virtual conference at the request of the United States, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He had a “pragmatic and frank” exchange with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on economic and tariff issues, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 69 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhunaet
July 5, 2022

The Chinese mainland Monday reported 69 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, 52 of which were in Anhui Province, the National Health Commission said Tuesday. A total of 266 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified on Monday in eight provincial-level regions, including 179 in Anhui and 66 in Jiangsu. Click here to read…

Xi calls for putting development front and center on international agenda: China Military
July 5, 2022

China is willing to work with countries around the world to put development front and center on the international agenda, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday. Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to a forum on global development attended by think tank and media representatives in Beijing. Click here to read…

Massive science facilities drive innovative research: China Daily
July 5, 2022

Zhangjiang Science City in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area has been strengthening its innovative abilities and developing a cluster of massive photon science facilities over the past several years, serving as an interdisciplinary research platform. The Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, a public scientific experimental platform that has been running since 2009, is a synchrotron light source with 27 beamlines in operation to date, compared with 15 beamlines four years ago. Click here to read…

China’s Tibet builds over 620 prosperous border villages: People’s Daily
July 05, 2022

By the end of 2021, over 620 prosperous border villages were built in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region as a campaign to vitalize the country’s border areas in addition to bringing prosperity to residents in Tibet. There are 21 counties in Tibet along the national border. To effectively build and develop these border counties is of great significance to the long-term peace and stability of Tibet. Click here to read…

China to set up infrastructure fund worth $75 bln to revive economy: Reuters
July 5, 2022

China will set up a state infrastructure investment fund worth 500 billion yuan ($74.69 billion) to spur infrastructure spending and revive a flagging economy, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, June 29, 2022

Xi encourages grain farmers to contribute to national food security: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping has underscored the exemplary role of large-scale grain growers in encouraging more farmers to contribute to the country’s food security. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks Monday in a letter replying to Xu Congxiang, a veteran grain farmer in Taihe County, east China’s Anhui Province. Click here to read…

China’s top legislator holds talks with lower house speaker of Kazakhstan’s parliament: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2022

China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu on Tuesday held video talks with Erlan Koshanov, the speaker of the Mazhilis, or lower house, of Kazakhstan’s parliament. Li, chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said that under the strategic guidance and direct push of the two heads of state, China-Kazakhstan relations have continuously achieved leap-forward development and a new height in the two countries’ permanent comprehensive strategic partnership has been reached. Click here to read…

Profits of Chinese SOEs down in first five months amid pandemic: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2022

China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) reported increased revenue but decreased profits in the first five months of this year, due to a high comparison base last year and the impacts of the pandemic, official data showed Tuesday. Click here to read…

China’s private enterprises quadruple in last 10 years: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2022

The number of Chinese private enterprises quadrupled in the past decade amid efforts to optimize the business environment, the country’s top economic planner said Tuesday. China’s private enterprises increased from 10.85 million in 2012 to 44.57 million last year, Su Wei, deputy secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference. Click here to read…

China unveils major sci-tech issues of 2022: Xinhuanet
June 28, 2022

The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) has released the major issues in science, engineering and technology, as well as industrial technology, for 2022.A total of 30 issues, including the early diagnosis of asymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, the formation and evolution of black holes in the universe, the application of remote sensing to effectively assess the Earth’s health and the industrialization of memory-computation integrated chips, were highlighted during the closing ceremony of the CAST’s annual conference on Monday in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province. Click here to read…

Robot takes over for humans on power lines: China Daily
June 28, 2022

A robot completed its first work with electricity on overhead power lines in the Qingshan district of Wuhan, Hubei province, on Friday. It is the first time a domestically developed robot has been used to complete electrical work on a 10 kilovolt overhead line in the province. Click here to read…

Academic institutes should be bridges rather than platforms for anti-China lies: Global Times
June 28, 2022

When asked for comments on a China Center newly established within the Hudson Institute, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that academic institutes should serve as bridges between different countries creating understanding and cooperation rather than distributing lies. Click here to read…

WeChat mini program offers general public virtual tours of Great Wall completely online: People’s Daily
June 28, 2022

A WeChat mini program that offers a window online for the general public to visit the Great Wall virtually was recently launched in China. The mini program was developed after a recent Great Wall protection and maintenance project was completed. During the project, several sections of the Great Wall were restored with the support of a total funding outlay of nearly 50 million yuan ($7.48 million). A documentary and a cartoon book popularizing knowledge about the Great Wall were also launched after the conclusion of the restoration project. Click here to read…

Digital yuan helps stimulate consumption, supports recovery of SMEs across China: People’s Daily
June 28, 2022

Multiple Chinese cities have recently issued “red packets” of digital yuan, or e-CNY, to stimulate consumption, with more e-CNY applications to be introduced in the future. On May 30, Shenzhen city in south China’s Guangdong Province started distributing e-CNY red packets worth 30 million yuan (about $4.50 million) on Meituan, a Chinese e-commerce platform, to revive consumption and aid businesses. Click here to read…

Chinese breakthrough lets human brains beam radio waves: South China Morning Post
June 28, 2022

Chinese researchers say they have made it possible for humans to beam radio waves with their brains in a breakthrough that could have uses ranging from health monitoring to mind-controlled military radar. In an air force laboratory experiment, researchers showed that brainwaves could control and interact with electromagnetic waves remotely. Click here to read…

Xi Jinping points to public opinion campaign as example of ‘whole-process democracy’: South China Morning Post
June 28, 2022

An online public opinion campaign for the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress has set the stage for the conclave, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping. State news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying the campaign was “not just an effective means for party members and the public to put forward their opinions about the country’s development and national rejuvenation but also a vivid demonstration of our whole-process democracy”.
Xinhua said the month-long campaign, which ended in mid-May, gathered 8.54 million opinions from the public for the congress, which is expected to usher in a younger party leadership and a third term for Xi as the organisation’s general secretary. Click here to read…

G-7 renews push to sanction Russia, to tackle China’s market abuse: Kyodo
June 29, 2022

Leaders from the Group of Seven nations made a renewed push Tuesday to continue punishing Russia over its war against Ukraine by agreeing to explore a price cap on Russian oil amid surging energy costs, while pledging $4.5 billion to combat a growing food crisis. Click here to read…

PetroChina may sell Australian, Canadian assets to stem losses: Reuters
June 29, 2022

PetroChina may sell out from natural gas projects in Australia and oil sands in Canada to stem losses and divert funds to more lucrative sites in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Click here to read…

U.S. accuses five firms in China of supporting Russia’s military: Reuters
June 29, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration added five companies in China to a trade blacklist on Tuesday for allegedly supporting Russia’s military and defense industrial base, flexing its muscle to enforce sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Click here to read…

China’s State Council appoints, removes officials: People’s Daily
June 29, 2022

The State Council announced the appointment and removal of officials Tuesday. Sun Guangyu was appointed as vice minister of emergency management. Zhen Zhanmin will no longer serve as vice president of the National Academy of Governance (NAG) and was appointed vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Yu Bin was appointed as deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council. Click here to read…

New phase of innovation begins between China and Singapore: China Daily
June 29, 2022

The China-Singapore Smart Park was officially opened on Sunday in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province, a new move between the two countries to promote innovative cooperation. As an important part of the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, a landmark Sino-Singaporean government project, the CSSP will focus on the fields of digital economy, green development, biomedicine and smart city construction. Click here to read…

Chinese grows in influence over decade: China Daily
June 29, 2022

Learning of nation’s language a major contributor to international exchanges. China has promoted the high-quality development of global Chinese language learning in the past decade, assisting foreigners in learning standard Chinese and enhancing international communication, officials and experts said. Click here to read…

Account verifications to limit spread of misinformation online: China Daily
June 29, 2022

Internet service providers as well as social media and sharing platforms are to be required to verify accounts that claim to be involved in certain specialist fields, such as the economy, education, health and justice, in order to protect the public from scams and the propagation of misleading information. Click here to read…

Efforts urged to stabilize employment: China Daily
June 29, 2022

Ensuring people’s well-being key to sustained economic development. Premier Li Keqiang has urged efforts to stabilize employment amid the new downward pressure facing the nation’s economy, saying that policies and measures to stabilize economic growth should focus on ensuring the vitality of market players to enable them to stabilize employment. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, June 07, 2022

Full text of Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter to National Event on Environment Day 2022: Xinhuanet
June 6, 2022

The following is the full text of Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter to the National Event on the Environment Day 2022.

On the holding of the National Event on the Environment Day 2022, I would like to extend my warm congratulations! Natural environment is the basis of human survival and development, and to preserve a sound ecological environment is the shared aspiration of the peoples of all countries. Since the Party’s 18th National Congress in 2012, we have made ecological conservation an initiative vital for sustaining the Chinese nation’s developmentClick here to read…

China reiterates concern over AUKUS-related nuclear material transfer: Xinhuanet
June 6, 2022

China on Monday reiterated concerns over the nuclear weapon material transfer involved in AUKUS, saying the issue should be addressed under the international non-proliferation regime. Click here to read…

Shenzhen to build 20 advanced manufacturing industrial parks: Xinhuanet
June 6, 2022

The southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen plans to build 20 advanced manufacturing industrial parks for strategic emerging sectors and industries of the future. The 20 industrial parks will cover a total area of 300 square kilometers in the districts of Bao’an, Guangming, Longhua, Longgang, Pingshan, and Shenshan, the municipal government announced on Monday. Click here to read…

China EximBank issues bonds to support production resumption in Shanghai: Xinhuanet
June 6, 2022

The Export-Import Bank of China (China EximBank), a state-owned policy bank, has issued financial bonds worth 5 billion yuan (about 749.7 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the resumption of production and work in Shanghai. Click here to read…

Seven arrested for testing misconduct: China Daily
June 6, 2022

The people’s procuratorate of Beijing’s Fangshan district decided to approve the arrest of seven people related to a testing lab on suspicion of obstructing prevention and control of infectious diseases on Monday afternoon, according to an announcement from the government’s official WeChat account. Click here to read…

Tattoo parlors barred from serving minors: China Daily
June 6, 2022

The guideline — released by a high-level task force established to coordinate efforts related to the protection of minors under the State Council, China’s Cabinet — aims to promote the management of tattoo work to protect minors’ legal rights, according to the website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Click here to read…

China remains global leader in 5G patent declarations: China Daily
June 6, 2022

China’s standard essential patent declarations for 5G account for about 40 percent of the global total, ranking first in the world according to a report issued by a national intellectual property research center. Click here to read…

Wang Yi to attend FMs’ meeting with Central Asian nations, jointly tackle security challenge: Global Times
June 6, 2022

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to attend the third “China+Central Asia” (C+C5) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kazakhstan and pay an official visit to the country from June 6 to 9. Click here to read…

Nation to open sci-tech sector wider to world while continuing pursuit of indigenous innovation, says minister: Global Times
June 6, 2022

China will open up its science and technology sector wider to the outside world while continuing the pursuit of indigenous innovation, Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said on Monday. China’s sharing of its sci-tech advances contributes immensely to addressing global issues spanning energy, the environment and coronavirus containment, experts said, while calling for corresponding opening-up moves by other economies. Click here to read…

China pilots low carbon bonds to help companies become greener: Reuters
June 6, 2022

China is rolling out so-called low carbon transition bonds to help companies become greener, the country’s interbank bond market regulator said on Monday, as Beijing strives toward carbon neutrality. Click here to read…

Chinese tech ADRs rise as end of Didi probe raises hope of easing crackdowns: Reuters
June 6, 2022

U.S.-listed Chinese technology stocks rose on Monday after a report that regulators in China are concluding a probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global raised expectations of easing crackdowns on the country’s internet sector. Click here to read…

China able to take on Taiwan, allies by 2027, says MND: Taipei Times
June 6, 2022

The Chinese military would be capable of fighting against Taiwan and allied forces by 2027, a Ministry of National Defense (MND) report said yesterday. China has set a goal of modernizing its warfare capabilities by that year, which is to mark the 100th anniversary of its army’s founding, and it might by then be able to act more aggressively toward Taiwan, said the report, which the ministry submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review.Click here to read…

Chinese jet threatens Australian surveillance plane over South China Sea: Kyodo
June 6, 2022

A Chinese fighter jet dangerously intercepted an Australian maritime surveillance plane over the South China Sea, endangering the aircraft and its crew, according to the Australian Defense Department. The department said Sunday the Chinese J-16 aircraft intercepted an Australian P-8 Poseidon on May 26 while it was conducting routine maritime surveillance in international airspace over the highly disputed body of water. Click here to read…

China’s unemployment woes see Yunnan offer big cash subsidies to entice college graduates: South China Morning Post
June 7, 2022

Keen on attracting college graduates for essential jobs in rural villages, one Chinese province is looking to sweeten the pot by splashing out on cash handouts. The move by authorities in Yunnan province, announced on Sunday, comes as the nation’s youth unemployment rate and the number of fresh college graduates have both reached record highs, further straining China’s already battered economy. The central government has also ordered local cadres to take the lead in boosting economic growth and employment, as China is struggling to keep the unemployment rate under the government’s target of “within 5.5 per cent” this year. Click here to read…

China brings forward plans for space solar power plant: South China Morning Post
June 7, 2022

China plans to launch an ambitious space solar power plant programme in 2028, two years ahead of the original schedule, according to scientists involved in the project. A satellite will be launched that year to test wireless power transmission technology from space to the ground from an altitude of 400km (250 miles), according to the updated plan in a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Chinese Space Science and Technology on Thursday. In the paper, the researchers said the satellite would convert solar energy to microwaves or lasers and direct the energy beams to various targets, including fixed locations on Earth and moving satellites. Click here to read…

Chinese scientists say ‘Midas’ touch helps to fine-tune CRISPR gene editing: South China Morning Post
June 7, 2022

Chinese scientists say they have discovered a new method that can significantly improve the efficiency of genome-editing tools. The method, called Improving Editing Activity by Synergistic Engineering, or Midas, “robustly and significantly increased” the human gene-editing efficiency of three tools they used, the researchers said. Moreover, based on Midas, the researchers found new genome editing tools that had higher efficiency and “very low” off-target effects. Click here to read…

China’s top political advisor holds virtual meeting with Singaporean parliament speaker: People’s Daily
June 7, 2022

China’s top political advisor Wang Yang and Tan Chuan-Jin, speaker of the parliament of Singapore, on Monday held a virtual meeting to discuss bilateral ties. Wang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, said that the China-Singapore ties feature geographical proximity, shared benefits, close cultural links and people-to-people affinity. Click here to read…

Canadian warplanes’ actions ‘provocative’: China Daily
June 7, 2022

China firmly opposes close reconnaissance and provocative actions by Canada’s warplanes, which threaten China’s national security, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said on Monday. Click here to read…

Former head of local education department under investigation for smearing Chinese traditional festival, historical figure: Global Times
June 7, 2022

The Education Department of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province is investigating its former head, Luo Chongmin, for his controversial remarks about the Dragon Boat Festival, one of the most important Chinese traditional festivals. Yunnan’s Education Department said in an announcement on Monday that it has set up a working group to investigate Luo Chongmin and will release the findings to the public in a timely manner. Click here to read…

More sci-tech innovation a national goal: China Daily
June 7, 2022

China will enhance efforts to make more original breakthroughs in core technologies, train quality talent, conduct institutional reforms, expand international cooperation and contribute more to tackling global challenges, officials said on Monday. Click here to read…

BRICS countries vow to deepen financial cooperation: Xinhuanet
June 7, 2022

The Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of BRICS countries issued a joint statement at a virtual meeting on Monday, reaching consensus on deepening financial cooperation and strengthening coordination on macroeconomic policy. Click here to read…

Chinese mainland reports 39 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases: Xinhuanet
June 7, 2022

The Chinese mainland Monday reported 39 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 20 in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, according to the National Health Commission’s report Tuesday. Click here to read…

Book of Xi’s discourses on rural work published: China Military
June 7, 2022

A compilation of discourses of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers has been published by the Central Party Literature Press. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: March 29, 2022

UNDP to Provide $50M to Implement Afghan Economic Programs- Tolo News

A senior official of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced a $50 million grant to help implement economic programs for citizens in the north of Afghanistan. Click here to read…

Laghman Governor: ‘No Armed Opposition Groups in Laghman’- Tolo News

Zain al-Abuddin Abed, the governor of Laghman province, said there are no armed opposition groups in the province. Click here to read…

Ban on Intl Media Programs Sparks Local and Global Reactions- Tolo News

The recent decision to prohibit Afghan local media from airing foreign TV channels’ news programs provoked reactions globally. Click here to read…

UN Calls on Islamic Emirate to Honor Promise on Girls’ Education- Tolo News
The members of the UN Security Council have expressed their deep concern regarding the inability of girls beyond grade six in Afghanistan to return to their schools, as they were promised. Click here to read…

Karzai hopes Beijing huddle to be fruitful for Afghanistan- Pajhwok

Former President Hamid Karzai has said that China is Afghanistan’s good neighbor and friend and expressed hope pf future cooperation. Click here to read…

Younis Khan and Umar Gul to coach Afghan players- Pajhwok

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) says that former Pakistan captain Younis Khan and national player Umar Gul has agreed to work as interim coaches with Afghan National Cricket team at UAE training camp. Click here to read…

Bill to curb banking fraud- The Daily Star

The Payment and Settlement Systems Bill 2022 was placed in parliament yesterday with a provision to punish top bank officials for fraudulence committed digitallyClick here to read…

Bangladesh an important partner in diplomacy’- The Daily Star

The European Union considers Bangladesh a very important partner in the regional and global diplomatic landscape, as the country has been able to demonstrate its economic and diplomatic strengths in recent years, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley said yesterday. Click here to read…

Momen in Colombo to attend 18th ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC- The Daily Star

The eighteenth ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) opens in the Sri Lankan capital tomorrow (March 29) as the members explore ways to strengthen the forum on all fronts. Click here to read…

US sanctions on Rab an abominable move: PM- The Daily Star

Prime Minister sheikh Hasina today came down heavily on the USA for imposing sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion and some of its officials, terming it an “abominable move”.Click here to read…

Police use teargas, water cannon during clash with hartal supporters at Paltan- The Daily Star

Police used water cannon and fired tear-shell during a clash with hartal supporters at Paltan intersection in Dhaka today. Click here to read…
South Asia Diary: Ukraine war triggers food crisis in Bangladesh- WION

The war in Ukraine has triggered a food crisis in Bangladesh. Traders are hoarding essential commodities to drive up prices. The Bangladesh government has responded by announcing a nationwide ration scheme. Click here to read…

Major Covid-19 travel protocol changes from today- Kuensel

With the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announcing phase-wise relaxation on the travel restriction in the country on March 26, the system of switching drivers ferrying goods at various points of routes has been lifted from today. Click here to read…

Transportation becomes cheaper with no driver-switching system- Kuensel
With the driver switching modality cancelled from today, businesses expect the price of commodities to drop as transportation becomes cheaper. Click here to read…

(Editorial) Entering the new phase- Kuensel

From today we begin a new phase of relaxation. In Thimphu, movement across mega-zones is allowed and the use of private cars, taxis and city busses resumesClick here to read…

The inspirational story of Bhutan’s first Oscar nod: ‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’- Knkx

The film Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, nominated for an Oscar in the Best International Feature category, traces the year-long transformative journey of a young Bhutanese teacher, Ugyen Dorji (played by actor Sherab Dorji). Click here to read…

An Ex-President, ‘India Out’ & China: Why is Jaishankar’s Maldives Trip Vital?: The Quint

Abdulla Yameen, a former president currently leading an anti-India campaign, was recently freed from house arrest. Click here to read…

S Jaishankar, Who is in the Maldives to Discuss Bilateral Ties, Has Praised the Maldives for Its Efforts to Combat Climate Change.: Industry Global News24

S Jaishankar, who is in the Maldives to discuss bilateral ties, praised the Maldives’ climate change initiatives and stated that India is collaborating on one of the country’s largest climate adaptation projects and is eager to give its expertise in this field. Click here to read…

US issues sanctions on alleged arms dealers for Myanmar military – The Financial Express

The United States imposed new sanctions on Friday targeting alleged arms dealers and companies it said were involved in procuring weapons for Myanmar’s junta, the US Treasury Department said. Click here to read…

Myanmar junta chief vows no talks with opposition “terrorists” – KFGO

Myanmar’s junta chief on Sunday said the military would not negotiate with “terrorist” opposition forces, vowing to annihilate them during a speech on Armed Forces Day, as opponents of last year’s coup vowed they would fight on. Click here to read…

UN expert slams govt silence on death threats against activist – Free Malaysia Today

A United Nations human rights official has questioned the government’s seriousness in handling the harassment and death threats faced by a Rohingya activist in MalaysiaClick here to read…

UN agencies to raise $800m for Rohingyas in Bangladesh camps – NewAgeBD

International communities are set to join a conference on Tuesday for making new commitments on providing funds to maintain the expenses in Rohingya camps and adjacent areas in Bangladesh in 2022. Click here to read…

Nepal to receive 11.4 billion rupees in Chinese aid- Himalaya

The government of the people’s republic of China will provide more than Rs 11.40 billion in grant assistance to the Government of Nepal under financial and technical assistance. Click here to read…

PM embarks on India visit on Friday- Himalaya

28Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is leaving for an official visit to India on April 1 at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Click here to read…

Deals on energy, connectivity on the cards during Deuba’s India visit- Kathmandu Post

Deuba is visiting Delhi on April 1-3 in his first official foreign outing since assuming office. Click here to read…

Loans on commercial terms could greatly increase Nepal’s debt burden- Kathmandu Post

Focus should be on grants, and if credit is a must, interest should be nominal, experts say. Click here to read…

EC allows fringe parties to contest polls with respective election symbols- Republica

The Election Commission (EC) of Nepal has decided to provide separate election symbols to all the political parties registered for the purpose of contesting local level pollsClick here to read…

JUI-F supporters vow to stay in Islamabad till PM’s removal- Dawn

While a number of political developments were observed at the national level on Monday, workers of the opposition parties believed that the stage had been set and their leaders needed to give a last push to topple the government.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1682369/jui-f-supporters-vow-to-stay-in-islamabad-till-pms-removal” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…

Pakistan dealt well with Covid: UN- Dawn

A UN report released on Monday places Pakistan among the countries that have done fairly well in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Capital police facing shortage of over 1,700 personnel, NA told- Dawn

The capital police are short of manpower compared to its sanctioned strength, the National Assembly has been informed. Click here to read…

SC irked by Imran’s remarks about Nawaz wooing judiciary- Dawn

Taking exception to the statements made by Prime Minister Imran Khan about the judiciary at a public meeting a couple of days ago, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel on Monday wondered if the premier could restrain himself from “irresponsible” utterancesClick here to read…

Qureshi to leave for China today- Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will leave for China on Tuesday (today) where he is expected to meet foreign ministers of other countries, including Russia, Iran and Central Asian states. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
To help Sri Lanka tackle an economic crisis, India pledges to continue cooperation, aid: Hindustan Times

Jaishankar also held talks with Sri Lanka’s finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, who has been coordinating with the Indian side on measures to cope with the economic crisis. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanks India for ‘invaluable assistance’: The Hindu

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday thanked visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for India’s “invaluable assistance” to Sri Lanka, which is grappling with one of its worst economic crises. Click here to read…

VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 16-30 June 2021


Politics and Society

Biden, Putin say progress made in Geneva but gulfs on issues remain, 16 June 2021

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin emergedfrom their meeting in Geneva projecting optimism for future relations despite continued divisions on thorny topics from cyberattacks to human rights abuses.In separate post-summit news conferences, Biden described the tone of the discussions as “good, positive” and Putin said it was “constructive” and there was a “glimpse of hope” regarding mutual trust.
Click here to read…

U.S., EU Forge Closer Ties on Emerging Technologies to Counter Russia and China, 17 June 2021

The U.S. and EU plan to cooperate more on technology regulation, industrial development and bilateral trade following President Biden’s visit, in a bid to help Western allies better compete with China and Russia on developing and protecting critical and emerging technologies. Central to the increased coordination will be a new high-level Trade and Technology Council. The aim of the TTC is to boost innovation and investment within and between the two allied economies, strengthen supply chains and avert unnecessary obstacles to trade, among other tasks.
Click here to read…

Biden picks Russia pro for key Pentagon post, 23 June 2021

President Joe Biden is set to nominate the chief executive of the U.S.-Russia Foundation and a former National Security Council official on Russia to be the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. The White House announced Celeste Wallander as the intended nominee on Tuesday. If confirmed, she would have a key role overseeing U.S. military security cooperation and foreign military sales at a time when Biden has placed a new emphasis on bolstering America’s alliances. Wallander also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and defense consulting firm WestExec Advisors lists her as a senior advisor there. If the Senate approves Wallander, she would advise Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.
Click here to read…

U.S. to keep about 650 troops in Afghanistan after withdrawal, 24 June 2021

Roughly 650 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Afghanistan to provide security for diplomats after the main American military force completes its withdrawal, which is set to be largely done in the next two weeks. In addition, several hundred additional American forces will remain at the Kabul airport, potentially until September, to assist Turkish troops providing security, as a temporary move until a more formal Turkey-led security operation is in place, the officials said. Overall, officials said the U.S. expects to have American and coalition military command, its leadership and most troops out by July Fourth, or shortly after that, meeting an aspirational deadline that commanders developed months ago.
Click here to read…

US Ambassador to Russia vows to work towards ‘stable, predictable’ relations with Russia, 24 June 2021

US Ambassador to Russian John Sullivan is back in Moscow and is ready to work to achieve stable and predictable relationship between Russia and the US, Sullivan. Upon his return to Moscow, the ambassador also participated in a TV interview with a Russian channel, TV Dozhd. Transcript of the interview.
Click here to read…

U.S. Carries Out Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, 27 June 2021

The United States carried out airstrikes early morning in Iraq and Syria against two Iranian-backed militias that the Pentagon said had conducted drone strikes against American personnel in Iraq in recent weeks, the Defense Department said. “At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” the Pentagon spokesman, John F. Kirby, said in a statement.
Click here to read…

Blinken and Lapid meet in Rome amid US-Israel relations reset, 27 June 2021

Hush-hush diplomacy. In-person visits. And a very public no-surprises agreement on Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will meet in Rome on Sunday as their new governments look to turn the page on former President Donald Trump and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose close alliance aggravated partisan divisions within both countries.
Click here to read…

Indonesia and US building maritime training center on edge of South China Sea, 28 June 2021

Indonesia and the United States have broken ground on a new $3.5 million maritime training center in the strategic area of Batam, in the Riau Islands, Indonesia’s maritime security agency said. Attending the ceremony virtually on Friday, the US ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim, said the maritime center would be part of ongoing efforts between the two countries to bolster security in the region.
Click here to read…

The West Coast Heat Has Killed Dozens and Hospitalized More In Canada And The U.S., 30 June 2021

Scores of deaths along the U.S. West Coast and in the Vancouver metro area in Canada are being blamed on an ongoing heat wave that has broken records. Authorities said at least six deaths in Washington and have been attributed to the heat wave that began in the region. Temperatures in Portland topped at least 116 degrees on Monday after at least three days of record-high temperatures. The area is now cooling off, according to the National Weather Service, but the heat left its mark.
Click here to read…

Taming the New Wild West, 23 June 2021

During the Cold War, summit meetings between the United States and the Soviet Union were often dominated by agreements to set limits on nuclear weapons and the systems built to deliver them. The US and Russia still discuss these topics, but at their recent meeting in Geneva, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin focused in no small part on how to regulate behaviour in a different realm: cyberspace. The stakes are every bit as great.
Click here to read…

Biden’s summit with Putin is a good start, 19 June 2021

The summit was never intended to produce any breakthrough agreements but to lay the foundation for improving relations between the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers and largely succeeded at that modest goal. Both nations agreed to return their ambassadors to each embassy (after both the Russian and American ambassadors withdrew late last year). They agreed to work constructively with each other on cybersecurity, on counterterrorism issues in Afghanistan, and on the peaceful development of the Arctic.
Click here to read…


Politics and Society
EU must be ‘more robust and resilient’ against Russian attempts to undermine it, says Borrell 16 June 2021

The European Union must become “more robust and resilient” against Russia’s attempts to undermine it and respond to threats in a more systematic and unified manner, according to the European Commission. The bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, presented the Commission’s proposed policy options on EU-Russia relations on Wednesday, entitled “Push back, constrain and engage.”
Click here to read…

Germany, Poland mark 30 years of Good Neighbourship treaty, 16 June 2021

Signed on June 17, 1991, the Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation was a milestone in the history of Poland and Germany.
Click here to read…

EU slaps coup-related sanctions on top Myanmar officials, 21 June 2021

The European Union has imposed sanctions on several senior officials and organizations in Myanmar over the military coup in February and the security crackdown that followed. The EU imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 8 officials and froze the assets of 3 “economic entities” and the War Veterans Organization. Those targeted include ministers, deputy ministers and the attorney general, whom the EU blames for “undermining democracy and the rule of law, and for serious human rights violations.” Click here to read…

Royal Navy ship off Crimea sparks diplomatic row between Russia and UK, 23 June 2021

Britain was unexpectedly embroiled in a diplomatic and military dispute with Russia after Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender briefly sailed through territorial waters off the coast of the disputed territory of Crimea. The warship sailed for about an hour in the morning within the 12-mile limit off Cape Fiolent on a direct route between the Ukrainian port of Odesa and Georgia, prompting Russian complaints and a disagreement about whether warning shots were fired.
Click here to read…

Macron, Merkel and 15 other EU leaders defend LGBT rights amid row over new Hungarian law, 24 June 2021

A group of 17 EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have signed a joint letter in defense of the LGBT+ community amid a raging controversy over Hungary’s new anti-LGBT law. Last week, the Hungarian parliament passed a new law tabled by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that bans the portrayal of homosexuality and sex reassignment in school education material and TV programmes addressed to people under 18 years of age. Click here to read…

EU imposes broad economic sanctions on Belarus over Ryanair incident, 24 June 2021

The European Union imposed wide-ranging economic sanctions on Belarus targeting its main export industries and access to finance a month after it forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk. The measures include banning EU businesses from importing goods or doing business with Belarusian companies in sectors including banking, petroleum products and potash, a salt used in fertiliser that is the country’s main export. The sanctions are far stricter than measures imposed in the past, which mainly consisted of blacklists of Belarusian officials and had little or no impact on the behaviour of President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994.
Click here to read…

The EU Lays Out Its Approach to Russia and Turkey, 25 June 2021.

The results of a foreign policy-focused EU summit signal that bilateral tensions with Russia will continue while a more pragmatic approach to Turkey is possible. During a summit of EU heads of government and state on June 24-25, the bloc rejected a Franco-German proposal to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and only pledged to “explore” the format and conditions for dialogue with Moscow. The leaders also approved granting an extra 3 billion euros to Turkey over the next three years to continue the migration agreement between Brussels and Ankara, while Germany proposed to restart negotiations to upgrade the EU-Turkey customs agreement. The summit once again highlighted the European Union’s limitations when it comes to foreign policy, as the most crucial decisions are taken by unanimity, which severely constrains the bloc’s room for action on controversial issues.
Click here to read…

Le Pen’s far-right party suffers blow in French regional elections, 27 June 2021

Marine Le Pen’s far-right party has suffered a serious electoral blow when it failed to win a regional election in its stronghold in the south of France. The Rassemblement National (National Rally) had pinned its last chances on taking the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region (PACA) after emerging victorious from last week’s first-round vote, although by a small margin. However, an alliance of rival parties to form a “republican front” against the RN-the withdrawal of the Socialist party and left-wing alliance candidate-prevented the far right taking the region.
Click here to read…

UK says it has yet to receive formal EU response in sausage row, 27 June 2021

Britain has yet to receive a formal response from the European Union over its proposal to further extend a grace period on checks on some foodstuffs moving to Northern Ireland just days before the latest deadline, a minister said on Sunday. “We think we have put forward a sensible proposal, something actually quite moderate while we work out a long-term solution and I am hopeful over the next few days that those technical discussions, we’ll be able to get that secured with the EU,” Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis told Times Radio.
Click here to read…

German CDU chancellor candidate: Nord Stream could be halted if Russia abuses it, 27 June 2021

Germany could stop gas flowing through the almost-complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia if Moscow breaks the terms of the arrangement or uses it to put pressure on Ukraine, conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet has said. The pipeline is a source of tension with the U.S. administration, which argues that it gives too much leverage to Russian President Vladimir Putin by increasing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
Click here to read…

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven loses no-confidence vote, resigns 28 June 2021

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven lost a no-confidence vote on 21 June morning following which he has resigned from the post. Lofven, from the Social Democratic party, had been in power since 2014. He is the first Swedish prime minister to lose a vote of no-confidence. The Social Democrat leader rejected the alternative option of calling snap elections and has asked the parliamentary speaker to find a new government. Click here to read…

EU citizens’ data will continue flowing into the UK after a crucial deal was reached, 28 June 2021

The European Union has recognized Britain’s privacy rules as adequate with its own, a key move that will allow EU-U.K. data flows to continue after Brexit. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the decision meant EU citizens’ personal information would be treated with the same level of protection as it would inside the bloc when transferred to the U.K. Businesses had worried that Britain and the EU wouldn’t come to an agreement on data equivalence, potentially putting billions of dollars’ worth of digital trade in jeopardy. Click here to read…

Belarus cuts cooperation on migration with EU over sanctions, 28 June 2021

Belarus has retaliated to the European Union sanctions by halting cooperation on stemming illegal migration and denying entry to EU officials. The EU has imposed new economic sanctions on Belarus over last month’s diversion of a passenger jet to arrest a dissident journalist. The sanctions target the country’s top export items, including potash – a common fertilizer ingredient, petroleum products and tobacco industry exports.
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Belarus suspends participation in Eastern Partnership, 28 June 2021

Belarus is suspending its participation in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Republic of Belarus is suspending its participation in the EU initiative Eastern Partnership. Belarus is beginning the procedure of suspending its readmission agreement with the EU. We cannot fulfill our obligations in the framework of this agreement while under the sanctions and restrictions imposed by the EU,” the statement said.
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EU reforms to common agricultural policy branded ‘greenwashing’, 30 June 2021

Environmentalists have criticised the European Union’s reform of its controversial common agricultural policy (CAP), arguing that it fails European citizens, small farmers and the climate. Greenpeace, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), BirdLife, Friends of the Earth Europe and the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) lambasted the provisional agreement and said it turns a blind on the climate and biodiversity crises.
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Health and Environment
European Union vaccine passports issued in 17 countries, 21 June 2021

European Union Digital COVID certificates (EUDCC) have now been issued to citizens in 17 countries. The vaccine passport (formally known as the EU Digital Green Certificate) provides digital proof whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus. Member states are obliged to start issuing the first certificates within six weeks of 1 July, when the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation enters into application.
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EU countries approve landmark climate change law, 28 June 2021

European Union countries has given the final seal of approval to a law to make the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions targets legally binding, as EU policymakers prepare a huge new package of policies to fight climate change.
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EU negotiators still far apart on environmental justice rights, 28 June 2021

EU countries and the European Parliament are at loggerheads over the revision of the Aarhus regulation, which allows individuals and civil society to challenge law in court on environmental matters. The regulation implements the Aarhus Convention, an international treaty that promotes access to justice in environmental matters. While the EU is signed up to it, it is not acting in line with the treaty, according to the convention’s compliance committee.
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With the rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant, Europe is divided on how to police its borders, 29 June 2021

The rise of the Delta variant is rekindling tensions over the management of the EU’s external borders. These divisions, which were much discussed at the beginning of the pandemic, resurfaced during the European summit in Brussels last week. On the one hand, Germany and France want to err on the side of prudence in the face of an influx of British tourists potentially carrying the Delta variant. On the other hand, southern countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece are anxious to protect their all-important tourist seasons.
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Tech and Economy
The EU’s new VAT rules for e-commerce from 1 July 2021, 20 June 2021

The new EU VAT system for business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales comes into force on 1 July 2021. This package of changes comprises: a one stop shop for accounting for VAT on B2C services and intra-EU distance sales of goods; an import one stop shop to pay import VAT on low value imports from outside the EU; and special VAT rules for goods sold to EU consumers via online marketplaces.
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EU’s Google Ad Tech Probe Strikes at Heart of Business Model, 22 June 2021

Google faces a sweeping European Union probe into its advertising technology, a move that strikes at the heart of the tech giant’s business model. The European Commission said its new confrontation with the Alphabet Inc. unit will focus on concerns the company may be illegally favouring its own online display advertising technologies, squeezing out rivals. “This is probably the probe that many people were waiting for because it goes to the core of Google’s business,” said Aitor Ortiz, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. The biggest risk would be an order for Google to separate from or restrict its online ads operations, which “could have a significant impact on the money generated through online advertising,” he added.
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French delegation to attend Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, 25 June 2021

A delegation from France will participate in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), which will be held in Vladivostok in early September, the president of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Emmanuel Quidet said on Friday. “We will come to the economic forum in September. We would like to organize a Franco-Russian roundtable…This is important to us, it’s important for our companies, because we see and are discovering opportunities that exist in the Far East and the Arctic,” Quidet said at a meeting that Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, the Russian president’s envoy to the Far East Federal District, held with a French business delegation in Vladivostok.
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Why are sanctions against Belarus not more effective? 18 June 2021

It will probably not be European and American sanctions that decide Lukashenko’s fate, but the political calculation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Europe Will Not be Strategically Sovereign, uit Compromises on the Russia Question, 26 June 2021

A strategically independent Europe needs, of course, some compromise, with an adversarial nuclear power next door, a form of “negative peace”. Unfortunately, the flaw in that plan, is that the EU is not a military power, and has no way to stop forces within which oppose this accommodation and compromises.
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A full agenda in Italy, 28 June 2021

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has just concluded a successful visit to Greece, the first in 18 years, where the two countries expressed convergence on the geo political and geo economic realities, including the Indo Pacific. The significance lies in the fact that Greece has been one of the earliest beneficiaries of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative with the strategic Piraeus port coming under the control of Chinese shipping company COSCO in 2016. As India tries to engage all countries in Europe, the prospects for a larger trade, investment and geographical indicators package become brighter. The action now shifts to the G 20 host country Italy.
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Politics and Society
State Duma elections to be held in September, 17 June 2021

The President signed Executive Order setting the election date for the new convocation of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. September 19, 2021 has been assigned for the Duma elections.
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Russia, Belarus have common vision of progress towards integration-Lavrov, 18 June 2021

Moscow and Minsk have a common vision of how to make progress on all tracks of cooperation, including integration matters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his opening remarks at negotiations with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei. At the meeting, evaluations were presented of the summit meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden.
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Nord Stream 2 AG begins certification as independent gas-transmission operator, continues challenging Third Gas Directive, 24 June 2021

Nord Stream 2 AG, operator of the Nord Stream 2 construction and operations project, has applied for proactive certification as an independent transport-system operator, Nord Stream 2 AG said in a statement. “The application for certification of Nord Stream 2 AG does not imply any change or mitigation in the legal position of Nord Stream 2 AG in relation to the amended Gas Directive or the goals that it continues to pursue firmly in the aforesaid litigation and arbitration proceedings,” Nord Stream 2 AG said in the statement. The application has been submitted based on a request from Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), Germany’s federal Network Agency, in accordance with sections 4b, 10, and further to the law on the Germany’s energy industry, Energiewirtschaftsgesetz, EnWG, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
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Putin, Pashinyan discuss Nagorno-Karabakh during phone call, says Kremlin, 24 June 2021

Russia will continue its mediation efforts to ensure stability in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Kremlin press service informed after a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. “During an exchange of opinions on Nagorno-Karabakh, they stressed the importance of steady implementation of agreements between leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan dated November 9, 2020, and January 11 of this year. Russia will continue active mediation efforts aimed to ensure stability in the region,” the message says. Click here to read…

Russian naval ships, aircraft kick off drills in Mediterranean, 25 June 2021

Russian naval ships and aircraft have kicked off joint drills in the Mediterranean Sea. The drills involve five warships, including the missile cruiser Moskva, the frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov, and the submarines Stary Oskol and Rostov-on-Don.
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India-Russia NSAs discuss cooperation in Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific, 25 June 2021

The national security advisers of India and Russia held a brainstorming session on several issues including the Afghan situation amid US troop withdrawal and the future role of Taliban on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) NSA-led meeting this week. Enhancing security & counter-terror cooperation, partnership between security agencies and the Indo-Pacific region were also among the topics discussed at the over two-hour meeting between the two NSAs.
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Russia, China Extend Treaty, Hail Ties, 28 June 2021

The leaders of China and Russia on 28 June announced the extension of a 20-year-old friendship treaty, hailing increasingly close ties and the “stabilizing role” of their relationship. The Kremlin published a joint statement from Russia and China to mark two decades since the treaty was signed, as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping held a televised meeting by video link.
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West tries to ‘lay down the law’ in international relations – Lavrov, 28 June 2021

Western countries using their rules to replace the existing instruments of international law shows that they are striving to “lay down the law” on the world stage, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wrote in his article published in Kommersant and Russia in Global Affairs. ”
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Rosatom starts building fifth unit of Kudankulam NPP in India, 29 June 2021

Rosatom Group has begun the construction of No. 5 unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India. The ceremony was held by video conferencing due to coronavirus restrictions, the Russian state nuclear corporation’s engineering division, ASE said. “The project to build the Kudankulam NPP has been a symbol of close cooperation between Russia and India for many years. But we don’t want to rest on our laurels. Rosatom has all the latest nuclear energy technologies. Together with our Indian colleagues, we are prepared to jointly roll out serial construction of the latest 3+ generation of Russian-designed nuclear generating units at a new site in India. This is envisioned by existing agreements,” Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev was reported as saying at the ceremony.
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Putin slams incident with British warship off Crimea as a provocation, 30 June 2021

The incident with the British guided missile destroyer Defender off Crimea was a clear provocation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual Q&A session. “This is, of course, a provocation, which is absolutely clear. What did these provocateurs want to show and what goals did they seek to achieve? First of all, it [the provocation] was comprehensive and was staged not only by the British but also by the Americans because the British warship ventured into our territorial waters in the afternoon while early in the morning, at 07:30, a US strategic reconnaissance plane took off from a NATO airfield in Greece, from Crete, I believe. I later received a report on that. We saw and observed it clearly,” the Russian leader said.
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Russia, U.S. planning meeting on strategic stability by mid-July – Lavrov, 30 June 2021

Delegations from the United States and Russia could meet for talks over strategic stability before the middle of July; the two sides understand that only mutually acceptable agreements are possible in this sphere, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
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Putin meets Nazarbayev, 30 June 2021

Vladimir Putin met with First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is in Russia on a working visit.
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Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, 30 June 2021

The annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin was broadcast live by Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, NTV, Public Television of Russia (OTR) and Mir TV channels, and Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. Click here to read…

Health and Environment
Russia’s Sputnik V shot around 90% effective against Delta variant, developers say, 29 June 2021

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 is around 90% effective against the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus, its developers said. The shot, which Russia has actively marketed abroad, was previously found by researchers to be almost 92% effective against the original strain of coronavirus. Denis Logunov, deputy director of Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute which developed Sputnik V, said the Delta variant efficacy figure was calculated based on digital medical and vaccine records. Click here to read…

EpiVacCorona vaccine to be manufactured in form of dosage syringes – developer, 29 June 2021

The EpiVacCorona coronavirus vaccine developed by Russian consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology will be manufactured both in the form of ampules and dosage syringes, Vector said in a statement. “As well as the usual format, ampules, the EpiVacCorona vaccine will now be available as a dosage syringe. The relevant changes to the certificate of registration were made on June 28,” the statement said. Click here to read…

Russia sees 21,042 new Covid-19 cases, all-time high of 669 deaths in past 24 hours – HQ, 30 June 2021

Russia has registered 21,042 new cases of Covid-19 and a record number of related deaths, 669, in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on June 30. “Over the past day, 21,042 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 85 regions of Russia, including 2,951 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (14.0%),” the headquarters said. mortality has grown again in Russia, to another all-time high of 669. The majority of deaths were reported in Moscow (117) and St. Petersburg (111).
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Russian economy recovering, but outlook for sustainable growth unclear amid Covid, uncertainty – minister, 18 June 2021

The public health situation and a number of other uncertainties currently make it impossible to make long-term forecasts about sustainable economic growth in Russia, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said. “It seems to me that at the moment it’s still early to talk about the sustainability of this growth. The recovery is underway, but ultimately we would not just like recovery, we need to grow further, after all. And right now it’s premature for us to make any far-reaching conclusions based on one month. We only have April in hand at the moment, May will start coming out next week,” Reshetnikov said at a briefing when asked if the worsening Covid-19 situation will affect the macroeconomic forecast for this year. Click here to read…

Putin expects inflation in Russia will not exceed 5% in 2021, 30 June 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin said inflation in 2021 would be above the 4% target but that he did not think it would exceed 5%. “Inflation was in the region of 4% [in annual terms]. Now it has risen to 5.9% [annual, as of the end of May], nearly 6%. Of course the task is to suppress it. It is for this reason that the Central Bank has raised the key rate a little, so there is no excess money supply in the economy,” Putin said during a Q&A session.”I expect that inflation will return to the target, to 4%. We are unlikely to achieve it [4%] this year, but I think we’ll be able to get [back down] to a level of 5% [by December],” he said.
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While the media focused on theatrics, Putin & Biden quietly launched a new diplomatic effort to avert an apocalyptic nuclear war, 21 June 2021

Atomic warfare was top of the agenda as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, met for crunch talks last week in Geneva, amid escalating hostilities and talk of a return to a ‘Cold War’ mentality. The first summit between the pair gives some room for cautious optimism. The atmosphere was respectful and calm, compared to how it might have been, and there seemed to be few aggressive or emotional accusations flying around in the way that has dominated relations between Moscow and Washington in the past.
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China-Russia: A Strategic Partnership Short on Strategy, 30 June 2021

The Sino-Russian relationship, nothing like an “alliance,” will continue to endure and in some ways deepen. Chinese firms are still interested in Russia’s human capital and natural resources and Russian firms and investors want to find growth in China’s market. The Putin-Xi meeting, however, emphasized performance over substance, limited by domestic political considerations and the scope of the two countries’ mutual interests. There’s a sense that there is no clear consensus over what order in Central Asia and Eurasia more broadly ought to look like, nor any attempt to show that it’s not just the world’s democracies talking a mean game about coordinating climate efforts. Instead, China and Russia continue their repeated focus on presenting a united front against the dominance of American and transatlantic power – without reflecting on what that power is actually doing right now. Click here to read…