Tag Archives: Myanmar

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 30, 2021

Afghanistan
Efforts to Continue Former Govt Are Useless: Samangani: Tolo News

The Ministry of the Information and Culture on Wednesday reacted to a statement by a number of officials of the former government–who claim to be continuing the work of the former government–saying their efforts are meaningless.Click here to read…

ICC Prosecutor Will Not Focus on US Forces in New Probe: Tolo News

The International Criminal Court prosecutor on Monday said he is seeking approval to resume a war crimes investigation of Afghanistan, focusing on the actions of the Taliban and Daesh militia. Click here to read…

China’s humanitarian aid arrives in Kabul: The Khaama Press

The first consignment of humanitarian aids arrived from China to Kabul on Wednesday, September 29, and was submitted to the acting minister of the refugees and repatriates Khalil-ur Rahaman Haqqani. Click here to read…

India, Turkey, Uzbekistan to resume flights to Kabul: The Khaama Press

International Radar has reported one flight from New Delhi, Istanbul, and Tashkent each to land in Kabul International Airport on Thursday, September 30. Click here to read…

20-war in Afghanistan was a strategic failure, 2,500 troops should have been kept: Milley: The Khaama Press

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US General Mark Milley said that their 20-year presence was their strategic failure and his personal opinion was to have 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
Rohingya leader Mohibullah shot dead- Daily Star

Unidentified criminals shot Rohingya rights activist and leader Mohibullah dead at his office in Kutupalong camp under Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhia upazila last night. Click here to read…

Mohibullah’s death undermines Rohingyas’ chances of safe return to Myanmar: HRW- Daily Star

Following the shooting to death of Rohingya rights activist and leader Mohibullah last night, Human Rights Watch issued a statement lamenting the loss of a defender of a people. Click here to read…

China lets US siblings return home- Daily Star

An American brother and sister barred from exiting China since 2018 in an apparent bid to pressure their father to return and face criminal allegations have finally left the country, Beijing and Washington confirmed yesterday. Click here to read…

Will Kallyanpur Pond solve Dhaka’s waterlogging problem?- Dhaka Tribune

The project is expected to be sustainable both financially and in terms of maintenanceClick here to read…

Govt mulling mechanization to boost jute production- Dhaka Tribune

The prospect of mechanization is giving new hope to the country’s jute industry, experts have said. Click here to read…

‘GDP growth rate will be restored by end of FY22’- Dhaka Tribune

State Minister Dr Shamsul Alam said that the ‘GDP growth rate will be restored by end of FY22’. Click here to read…

Finance Minister for merging BASIC & Padma Bank- Asian Age

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has opined that BASIC Bank and Padma Bank should be merged with each other. Click here to read…

Take lessons from PM’s honesty, ideology- Asian Age

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has urges all to take lessons from the honesty and ideology of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, worthy daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Click here to read…

17 new deaths 1,178 cases- Asian Age

Bangladesh reported 17 new fatalities and 1,178 cases in 24 hours till 8am on Wednesday. Click here to read…

PM Hasina opens “Bangladesh House” in USA’s Maryland- The Observer

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is now in Washington DC, inaugurated the newly constructed “Bangladesh House” at Maryland in the USA. Click here to read…

People won’t respond to BNP’s call of movement, says Quader- The Observer

Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad arranged the discussion and educational equipment distribution ceremony, marking the 75th birthday of AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Click here to read…

Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition begins at BSA- The Observer

The Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition was opened for public viewing at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Saturday. Click here to read…

Biman’s Medina, Kuwait, Kathmandu flights resume in October- Independent

Biman Bangladesh Airlines will resume its direct flights from Dhaka to three popular destinations from October. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Police investigating sexual harassment case at the Royal Tutorial Project- Kuensel

Sources said the police investigation has involved message retrieval from phones. “The case might be forwarded to court soon,” a source said. Click here to read…

PM underscores the importance of investing in health- Kuensel

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly virtually from Thimphu on September 25, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said the pandemic underlined the importance of investing in public health. Click here to read…

Bhutan begins efforts to become a model ecotourism destination- Kuensel

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) launched “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into the Tourism Sector in Bhutan”, a new project with the beginning of a three-day inception workshop in Trashigang on September 27. Click here to read…

Streamlining donation drives and crowdfunding- DLO-BBS

To ensure that donation drives and crowdfunding are genuine, the department of law and order has now put in place certain requirements. Click here to read…

Bhutan receives three fire-fighting and two utility vehicles from Japan-
To ensure that donation drives and crowdfunding are genuine, the department of law and order has now put in place certain requirements. Click here to read…

Maldives
Italy gives green light to travel to the Maldives – Avas

Italy has removed the Maldives from its list of countries to which travel is restricted. Italians will now be allowed to travel to the Maldives without the need for quarantine either on arrival or return. In addition to Maldives, Italians can travel to Seychelles, Mauritius, Egypt, Dominican Republic and Aruba from outside EU. Click here to read…

Bilehfahi Harbour project progressing well: MTCC – Avas

Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has said the construction of Sh. Bilehfahi Harbour is ongoing at a fast pace. Click here to read…

President arrives in the Maldives after concluding visit to New York – Avas

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih arrived in the Maldives Tuesday morning after concluding the trip to New York City, United States, to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Click here to read…

The climate change dilemma facing Maldives, Mauritius and other tourism-dependent small island nations: their livelihoods or their lives? – South China Monitoring post

Come visit the Maldives, its president entreated the world at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, moments before switching to an impassioned plea for help combating climate change. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Myanmar Junta Accused of Targeting Civilians with Landmines – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s junta is laying landmines in residential areas while it conducts raids on civilian resistance forces in Kayah State. Click here to read…

Myanmar Junta Crony Plays Key Role in Arms Purchases From Ukraine – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s crony league welcomed new members when current coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing succeeded former dictator Senior General Than Shwe as the military chief in 2011, with relatives and business associates of newly promoted generals joining the elite. Click here to read…

Myanmar’s Currency Hits Record Low as Coup Wreaks Havoc on Economy – The Irrawaddy

Almost eight months after the military coup, Myanmar’s currency depreciated to a record low this week, prompting fears of worsening social and economic instability in the country, which has been devastated by the takeover. Click here to read…

Myanmar on a military-made road to disaster – Asia Times

What began as carnival-like protests against Myanmar’s military takeover on February 1 has since morphed into a vicious nationwide insurgency that has hit areas of the nation that had seen no armed confrontations between rebels and state forces for decades. Click here to read…

Nepal
How Madhesh-based parties are using constitution amendment as a political weapon- Nepal Live Today

Six years after the promulgation, Madhesh-based political parties have continued to oppose the constitution while joining the governments whenever they like. Click here to read…

PM Calls All-Party Meet Today for Smooth House Proceedings- The Rising Nepal

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has called an all-party meeting on Thursday to remove obstructions in the parliamentary session. Click here to read…

Speaker Sapkota likely to read out letter of repeal of the ‘party-split’ ordinance in today’s House session- Republica

Speaker Agni Sapkota is likely to read out a letter of repeal of the ordinance related to the political party. Click here to read…

Beginning of the end of the Gorkha Empire (Part I)- Nepali Times

The Gorkha Empire was on a warpath, and the British East India Company saw it as a threat to its own expansionist ambitions. Click here to read…

No law on oath raises questions over rulers’ adherence to rule of law- TKP

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is working to give full shape to his Cabinet within a few days after a major obstruction to his bid to expand the Council of Ministers ended with the repealment of the ordinance on political parties on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Active caseload drops to 18193 as death toll shifts to 11123- Himalaya

Nepal’s coronavirus caseload reached 794,163 on Wednesday with 892 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours. Click here to read…

First casualty of the season on Manaslu as Canadian climber dies above 7,000m- Himalaya

Mt Manaslu recorded the season’s first casualty as a Canadian climber died while ascending the mountain, sources said. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Most loans under CPEC at commercial rates: report: Dawn

Shedding light on Beijing’s global development programme, the report said Chinese loans under CPEC constitute 95.2 per cent and 73pc of total commitments in energy and transport sectors, respectively. Click here to read…

Alarm over anti-Pakistan bill moved in US Senate: Dawn

The bill moved in the US Senate seeking to assess Pakistan’s alleged role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul to Afghan Taliban set alarm bells ringing in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Pakistan denies providing military support to Taliban: The Express Tribune

Reacting to a bill seeking imposition of sanctions on the Afghan Taliban that could also potentially extend to Pakistan in US Senate, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday said that the country did not provide any military support to the Taliban. Click here to read…

A dollar is now fetching Rs172: The News

The rupee hit an all-time low against the dollar on Wednesday as investors evaluated political and economic risk from upcoming IMF reviews on the bailout package. Click here to read…

FIA to probe road projects of PMLN era: PM Imran Khan: The News

Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been given the responsibility to investigate the money spent on roads construction during the PMLN era. Click here to read…

Pakistan, Russia to strengthen military ties: Dawn

The agreement was reached during the third round of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) meetings held here. Click here to read…

Keywords
Afghanistan, Afghan Government in Exile, International Criminal Court, China Aid, Kallyanpul Pond, Bhutan, Bhutan Jute Production, Bangladesh, Bangladesh GDP, COVID-19, Sheikh Hasina, BNP, Royal Tutorial Project, Ecotourism, Fire-Fighting Vehicles, Japan-Bangladesh, Maldives, Maldives in UN, Climate Change, Myanmar, Military Junta, Nepal, Nepal Constitution, Constitution Amendment, Gorkha Empire, CPEC, BRI, Pakistan, Pakistan-Russia

China: Daily Scan, September 27, 2021

Xi calls for openness, cooperation in science & technology: Xinhuanet
September 24, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called on all countries to strengthen openness and cooperation in science and technology. Xi made the remarks while delivering a speech via video at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Zhongguancun Forum (ZGC Forum), which is scheduled from Sept. 24 to 28 in Beijing.
Click here to read

China issues white paper on Xinjiang’s demographic development: Xinhuanet
September 26, 2021

China’s State Council Information Office Sunday issued a white paper detailing the demographic development in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The white paper, titled “Xinjiang Population Dynamics and Data,” said over the past 70 years, Xinjiang has seen rapid and steady population growth, improving population quality, higher life expectancy, and faster urbanization and modernization.
Click here to read

China says no to cartoons with unhealthy content: Xinhuanet
September 25, 2021

China’s broadcasting authorities have voiced absolute rejection of cartoons that contain plots or footage of violence, blood, vulgarity or pornography. Service providers of audio-visual web programs are encouraged to create, import and broadcast cartoons that feature positive values and promote virtues of the true, the good and the beautiful, said the National Radio and Television Administration on its website.
Click here to read

J-16D and WZ-7 to debut at Airshow China 2021: China Military
September 26, 2021

The 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2021) will be held in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province, as scheduled from September 28 to October 3. An array of main combat equipment including the J-20 stealth fighter, Y-20 heavy transport aircraft, KJ-500 early warning aircraft, H-6K bomber, and HQ-9B air-defense missile system will appear together in the exhibition. China’s J-16D electronic warfare aircraft and WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone are to debut at the upcoming air show. The systematical display of multi-type main combat equipment of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) demonstrates the new achievements of its strategic transformation.
Click here to read

China to promote vocational training of migrant workers: People’s Daily
September 26, 2021

China will promote vocational training of migrant workers as part of the efforts to consolidate its poverty alleviation outcomes, an official said Saturday.By the end of August, China has 30.85 million migrant workers who had shaken off poverty, Liu Xiaoshan, an official with the National Administration for Rural Vitalization said at a news conference.
Click here to read

Liaison office of central gov’t says anti-China group in Hong Kong cannot escape justice: China Daily
September 26, 2021

After a notorious anti-China group announced its dissolution on Saturday, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said it is the inevitable fate of anti-China groups in Hong Kong. The HKSAR government has started the procedure of banning the organization according to the law, a spokesperson of the liaison office said.
Click here to read

Power shortage in NE China’s provinces affects local livelihood: Global Times
September 26, 2021

Three provinces in Northeast China, including Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, reported experiencing electricity shortages in some areas caused by the high price of coal used for power generation. Multiple local residents said this has affected their daily livelihood.A resident of Jilin city, in Jilin Province, told the Global Times on Sunday that the power supply of his house has been intermittent recently, noting that “the unstable power supply started on Saturday but did not receive any notice in advance.”
Click here to read

Chinese Big Tech vows to support SMEs at premier internet summit: Global Times
September 26, 2021

At the water town of Wuzhen in East China’s Zhejiang Province, a high-level annual internet forum puts China’s best and brightest tech talent on show surrounded by voices of confidence and resilience from tech luminaries from both home and abroad. The country’s platform economy is seen as gaining luster, rather than the other way around as hyped by some Western media, and the new mood has been borne amid a responsible governmental push for greater fairness and effective innovation.
Click here to read

China tries to rally national pride as it paints MengWanzhou’s release as proof the US targeted an innocent woman for political reasons: South China Morning Post
September 26, 2021

The return of MengWanzhou to China without legal penalty is being used to shore up nationalist sentiment by feeding up the narrative that Huawei and China were innocent victims of the United States. Repeating Beijing’s line on the case, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying on Saturday commented in a statement that this was “an incident of political persecution against a Chinese citizen” and there were “materials that are sufficient to prove MsMeng‘s innocence”.
Click here to read

The everyday liquid that could fuel China’s race to green car targets: South China Morning Post
September 24, 2021

Scientists in China and Australia have developed a catalyst which uses urea-loaded waste water to efficiently generate clean energy, paving the way for low-cost portable fuel cells that work like batteries. Fuel cells, which have been used to power electric vehicles, are a clean source of electricity. They produce power through an electrochemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen, generating heat and water as by-products.
Click here to read

Two Chinese naval vessels reportedly spotted off Taiwan’s east coast: Focus Taiwan
September 24, 2021

Two military vessels from China were seen off the east of Taiwan, in the Pacific Ocean, over the past two days, a military source said Friday. One of them, a Chinese missile frigate, was spotted 40 nautical miles, or roughly 74 kilometers, off the coast of Hualien County at around 3 a.m. Thursday, presumably heading south into the Bashi Channel, the source said.
Click here to read

China Evergrande’s electric car unit’s shares tumble 26% after warning: Reuters
September 27, 2021

Shares of China Evergrande’s electric car unit plunged as much as 26% on Monday after it warned it faced an uncertain future unless it got a swift injection of cash and after it said it will not proceed with plans to issue RMB shares.The warning by China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group after the market closed on Friday was the clearest sign yet that the embattled property developer’s liquidity crisis is worsening in other parts of its business.
Click here to read

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 29, 2021

Afghanistan
MoJ to Enforce Zahir Shah-Era Constitution: Tolo News

For an interim period, the constitution from the time of the Afghan king will be enforced, except for some articles against Sharia Law and Emirate principles. Click here to read

Afghan Businessmen Face Export Problems in Trade with Pakistan: Tolo News

Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that once again Afghan exports face problems in crossing points with Pakistan as the neighboring country allows only 20 Afghan trucks a day while hundreds of trucks are stuck near crossing points between the two countries. Click here to read

Former Afghan officials announce government in exile: The Khaama Press

A number of former Afghan officials who have fled the country along with President Ashraf Ghani announced the continuation of the Afghan government in exile. Click here to read

Taliban to implement a constitution from nearly 60 years ago: The Khaama Press

Taliban’s acting minister of Justice Abdul Hakim Sharaee said that they will implement the constitution from the era of Muhammad Zahir Shah which was ratified 57 years ago. Click here to read

Will not engage in Afghanistan until establishment of inclusive government: Erdogan: The Khaama Pres

President of Turkey Recep Tayyib Erdogan has said that they will not engage in Afghanistan until and unless the Taliban forge an all-inclusive government in the country. Click here to read

Bangladesh
Turkey-Bangladesh ties get stronger as misconceptions clarified- Daily Sabah

Relations between Turkey and Bangladesh scaled up after disinformation about Bangladesh spoiling Muslim unity was proven wrong, Bangladeshi officials said. Click here to read

Crystal meth creeps up on city- Daily Star

There is a growing market for highly addictive drug crystal meth in the capital, operated mostly through encrypted messaging apps, officials have found out. Click here to read

Over 66 lakh shots given: Special Covid vaccination drive marks Hasina’s 75th birthday- Daily Star

The country more than doubled its previous record of single-day vaccinations as the government inoculated more than 66 lakh people against Covid-19 yesterday. Click here to read

No more brokers- Daily Star

The Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) has taken a plan to introduce licenced “agents” to help people get passports and renew them. Click here to read

AL focusing on polls, BNP on election-time government- Dhaka Tribune

The ruling Awami League has already begun preparations for the next general election, to be held at the end of 2023. Click here to read

Covid-19: Bangladesh records 31 more deaths, 1,310 new cases- Dhaka Tribune

As many as 29,186 samples tested in 24 hours, yielding an infection rate of 4.49%.Click here to read

High Court extends Khaleda Zia’s bail by a year in 5 cases- Dhaka Tribune

File photo of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Collected the BNP chief is out of prison since March last year as the govt has suspended her sentence. Click here to read

Windows of democracy and Sheikh Hasina’s birthday – Asian Age

Sheikh Hasina regards the people of Bangladesh as her closest and dearest ones. Click here to read

Bangamata Parishad observes PM’s birthday- Asian Age

Bangamata Parishad observed the 75th birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday. The organization also held a discussion program in the capital’s National Museum on the same day. Click here to read

No alternative to Sheikh Hasina to reach desired destination: Hasan- The Observer

Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Tuesday said that there is no alternative to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to reach the country in its desired destination. Click here to read

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina likely to visit India next year- Times of India

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to visit New Delhi early next year. The dates for the visit expected to be in January or February 2022, will be finalised only after a formal invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extended to her. Click here to read

Consultancy contract signed between India & Bangladesh for a new railway line from Bogura to Sirajganj- All India Radio

A new direct rail line from Bogura to Sirajganj in Bangladesh will be developed under a government of India Line of Credit (LoC). Click here to read

Fifty years ago, remote Dimapur airstrip gave wings to fledgling Bangladesh Air Force- Economic time

By November 5, we could proudly say Bangladeshi and Indian Air forces had freed the skies over Bangladesh. The victory over land forces took 11 more days. Click here to read

Bhutan
No local Covid-19 cases for 45 straight days- Kuensel

Bhutan has not reported any positive Covid-19 cases from the community for 45 straight days. The last positive case from the community was reported on August 14: an individual from Gomtu, Samtse. Click here to read

RUB colleges establish happiness and wellbeing centres- Kuensel

Colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) are establishing happiness and wellbeing centres to address mental health problems. Click here to read

Pandemic impacts nettle fabric business- Kuensel

Like many businesses, the pandemic impacted women who make a living weaving fabric from nettle yarn in Trongsa. Click here to read

Bhutan is home to one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world- Daily Bhutan

Email There is even a festival for it, known as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival. There, you’ll get to sample various dishes prepared with this mushroom. Click here to read

PM hosts reception to mark 50th anniversary Bhutan’s membership to the UN- Bhutan Times

A limited edition collectible commemorative stamp developed in partnership with Bhutan Post to mark the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the UN was also launched by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and UN Resident Representative Gerald Daly on 21 September. Click here to read

Construction of new bridge along Damchhu-Haa bypass to begin from November- BBS

A new bridge over Wangchhu along the Damchhu-Haa bypass will be constructed from November. The project DANTAK will construct the bridge. The previous bridge which was almost complete collapsed in February this year killing nine Indian workers. Click here to read

Flagship programmes make slow progress amid the pandemic- BBS

With the 12th Five Year Plan already midway, the government was able to utilise only more than Nu 2bn on the flagship programmes so far. A total budget of Nu 10bn was identified for these programmes. Click here to read

How digital cash can lift gross national happiness in Bhutan- Mint

Cash is a relatively new construct in Bhutan. Click here to read

COVID-19 and rabies: Bhutan highlights the importance of cross-border dog vaccination- WHO

Despite the sad loss of its young citizen recently, Bhutan is on the right track to achieve this goal. Click here to read

India inks pact for joint development of small satellite for Bhutan- New Indian Express

India on Friday signed the implementing arrangement on the joint development of a small satellite for Bhutan. Click here to read

Maldives
‘Against Freedom of Expression’: Maldives Journalist Bodies Oppose Provisions in New Bill – The Wire

Journalist organisations and NGOs in Maldives have, in a joint statement issued on Tuesday, September 28, called for the country’s authorities to drop certain provisions from the Evidence Bill which is currently being debated in the country’s parliament. Click here to read

Over 100,000 arrivals recorded for the fourth month this ongoing year! – Raajje

The Ministry of Tourism, through its latest daily statistics revealed that Maldives observed a total of 102,745 arrivals between September 1 – 26. Click here to read

Maldives committed to One-China Policy, bilateral cooperation in int’l arena: FM – ECNS

Maldives’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the One-China Policy and willingness to work with China in areas of mutual interest. Click here to read

India’s 228 million social housing project in Maldives and its significance- Inventiva

Maldives’ state-owned Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation signed a loan agreement with India’s state-owned National Buildings Construction Company which is also known as NBCC, along with JMC Projects India Ltd. on Thursday. Click here to read

Myanmar
Afghanistan, Myanmar left in UN meet – Manila Times

The United Nations General Assembly drew to a close on Monday without speeches by Afghanistan or Myanmar after world powers intervened in disputes over who would represent the two countries. Click here to read

Junta mouthpiece criticises NLD-led decision to disband Union Democratic Party last year – Myanmar Now

A military-run newspaper has published an op-ed criticising the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government for overseeing the decision to dissolve the Union Democratic Party (UDP) shortly before last year’s general election. Click here to read

Growing numbers of young people seek to flee Myanmar – BNI Online

Young people disheartened by life in Myanmar following the coup are trying in growing numbers to leave the country and find work to help support their families, RFA reported. Click here to read
Myanmar Junta Troops Ambushed in Shan State – The Irrawaddy

At least 20 Myanmar military soldiers were reportedly killed or wounded on Monday, after Karenni resistance fighters ambushed a convoy of junta reinforcements in Pinlaung, Shan State in southeastern Myanmar. Click here to read

Int’l Rights Experts Urge UN to Declare Myanmar Junta ‘Terrorist’ Organization – The Irrawaddy

An independent group of prominent former UN human rights experts has urged the United Nations Security Council to declare the Myanmar military junta a “terrorist organization” for its atrocities against its own civilians including public torture, executions and taking hostages, including children as young as 2. Click here to read

Nepal
Minister Sharma stresses fully proportional election- Himalaya

Finance Minister Janardan Sharma said the fully proportional electoral system is necessary to eliminate unhealthy competition and malpractices in the election. Click here to read

Government to support tourism sector, says PM Deuba- Himalaya

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that the government is committed to support country’s tourism sector which has been hit hard by the COVID -19 pandemic. Click here to read

Poorly handled Covid-19 garbage could give rise to hazardous waste crisis- TKP

Amount of coronavirus-related refuse is increasing. There are protocols to manage such items, but implementation has been weak, leaving public health in peril. Click here to read

Panel on Nepal-China border issues calls for bilateral intervention- TKP

Government committee suggests joint inspection team of experts from both sides to deal with the dispute, if any. Click here to read

MCC ball in Nepal’s court- Nepali Times

‘Take it or leave it’ is the message to Kathmandu after visit by US officials. Click here to read

Maoist leader Barshaman Pun leaves for Thailand for treatment- Republica

CPN (Maoist Center) standing committee member Barshaman Pun left for Thailand today. Click here to read

Writ filed seeking annulment of oath taken by Foreign Minister Khadka- Republica

A writ petition has been filed at the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking an order to annul the oath taken by Foreign Minister Dr Narayan Khadka. Click here to read

Diplomats gather in Pokhara to revive Covid-19-hit Nepal tourism- Online Khabar

Just as the clouds were covering the Annapurna range, Park Chong-Suk, South Korean ambassador to Nepal, quickly took a selfie with his wife. This was at Naudanda, a few kilometres away from Pokhara, the tourism capital of Nepal. Click here to read

Border Roads Bring India and Nepal Closer- The Diplomat

The 35-km-long Uttarey-Chiwanbhangjyang road will link western Sikkim in India not just to areas on the Nepali side of the border but to western Nepal. Click here to read

Nepali Youth Protest in Capital Kathmandu Against Chinese Land Encroachment- NDTV

A youth association affiliated with Nepal’s Democratic Socialist Party led by Mahantha Thakur staged a protest against China on Tuesday for allegedly encroaching Nepal’s land. Click here to read

India MEA official reaches Nepal, to hold series of discussions- Wion

India MEA official reaches Nepal, to hold series of discussions Read more At: Click here to read

Pakistan
Qureshi again urges world to engage with ‘new reality’ in Afghanistan: Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has once again urged the international community to engage with the “new reality” in Afghanistan and unfreeze the country’s assets so that things do not fall apart. Click here to read

Mazari rebukes US for introducing bill targeting Pakistan for Afghan failure: The Express Tribune

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari has warned that Pakistan will be made to “pay heavy price” for being an ally of the United States in its ‘war on terror’Click here to read

Shehbaz can be sent to prison for 25 years over corruption: Fawad: The Express Tribune

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif would be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison “if hearing of his corruption case is conducted on merit” Click here to read

US senators want Pak role probed in Taliban win: The News

A bill was Monday introduced in the US Senate requiring assessments and imposition of sanctions on the Taliban and persons assisting them in Afghanistan. Click here to read

NCOC for vaccination of children aged 12-years, above: The News

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to vaccinate children aged 12 years and above. “In today’s meeting of NCOC, it has been decided to vaccinate all above 12 years and above,” Click here to read

Sri Lanka

932 persons test positive for COVID-19 – Daily FT

Daily COVID-19 detections remained below 1,000 for the second consecutive day with 932 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Click here to read

Ensure workers’ rights before extending GSP+: EPZ workers write to EU Ambassador – The Morning

The Stand Up Movement Lanka organisation has written to the European Union (EU), requesting that it intervene to ensure that the rights of workers in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are addressed prior to deciding on whether or not to extend the grant of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trade concessions to Sri Lanka. Click here to read

Sri Lanka Govt. suspends order placed to procure Oxygen from India – Daily Mirror

The Government has decided to suspend the order placed to purchase 1,080 tonnes of liquid oxygen from India, required for the next three weeks. Click here to read

National Issues Haunt GoSL at UNGA 2021 – Ceylon Today

Sri Lanka’s long-standing problem of seeking justice for the Tamils, and Catholics after the Easter Sunday attacks, has reached the United Nations Headquarters. Click here to read

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 28, 2021

Afghanistan
Violations of building rules continue unabated in Kabul- Pajhwok Afghan

Based on current laws, construction of more than three-storey buildings in residential areas is not permissible in Kabul.
Click here to read

Save the Children to expand activities in Kandahar: Chief- Pajhwok Afghan

The Children organization chief says they will extend their services to areas where they had no access to due the conflict.
Click here to read

Former president Ghani’s Facebook page hacked- Pajhwok Afghan

Former President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Monday said his Facebook page has been hacked and disowned recent posts on the page.
Click here to read

No One from Afghanistan Will Address UNGA: Reuters- Tolo News

No representative from Afghanistan will address the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly in New York after the ambassador for the government ousted by the Taliban – who was due to speak on Monday – withdrew his name.
Click here to read

Bangladesh
PM Hasina’s 75th birthday today- Asian Age

Today is the 75th birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Awami League (AL) and its affiliated and likeminded bodies are celebrating the day through various programs highlighting the life and achievements of Sheikh Hasina.
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Shots for Higher Edn Students: Half yet not registered- Daily Star

Although the government said any university or its affiliated colleges could resume in-person classes if all their students completed the Covid-19 vaccine registration by yesterday.
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25 lakh Pfizer vaccines arrive in Dhaka airport- Daily Star

Twenty-five lakh more doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, under the COVAX facility, arrived in Bangladesh early today.
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Child marriage: Many girls long for a return to schools- Dhaka Tribune

Up to 70% of girls in grade 9 and 10 in many schools are yet to return to classes.
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Rt-PCR test to start in full capacity at Dhaka airport from Tuesday- Dhaka Tribune

The Covid-19 rt-PCR laboratory set up for UAE passengers at Dhaka airport is fully prepared.
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Minister Mannan: Corruption is a reality- Dhaka Tribune

Government does not want to curb corruption through hustle, he says.
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Bhutan
The significance of offering seven bowls of water- Bhutan Times

The 7 bowls signify respectively: water for drinking, water for washing, flowers, incense, light, perfume, and food.
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12th Five-Year Plan reprioritised to stimulate growth- Kuensel

These are a part of the three major new activities the government had to reprioritise and adopt in the 12th FYP as part of the Covid-19 interventions and Economic Contingency plan.
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Raising healthy and resilient future- Kuensel

There is a need for schools to improve mental resilience programmes.
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Let Climate Change not slide this time- Kuensel

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, requires each State to prepare, outline and communicate its NDCs.
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Bhutan’s journey to become a model eco-tourism destination- BBS

To promote Bhutan as a model eco-tourism destination, the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) launched the ecotourism project in Trashigang.
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Maldives
Small islands caught between tourism economy, climate change – New Indian Express

Come visit the Maldives, its president entreated the world at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, moments before switching to an impassioned plea for help combating climate change. The adjacent appeals illustrated a central dilemma for many small island developing states: their livelihoods, or their lives?
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India Exim Bank extends Buyer’s Credit facilities under NEIA aggregating $226.95M to Republic of Maldives govt – India infonline

Export-Import Bank of India [India Exim Bank] has extended two Buyer’s Credit [BC] facilities under National Export Insurance Account [NEIA] aggregating USD 226.95 mn to Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation Ltd. (FDCL), Government of Republic of Maldives (GoM) for construction of 4000 Social Housing Units in Hulhumale, Maldives by NBCC (India) Ltd. (NBCC) and JMC Projects (India) Ltd. (JMC).
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Maldives Telecommunications Strategic SWOT Analysis Review and Outlook to 2025-Analysis of Maldives Mobile, Fixed Telephone and Broadband Markets – Today’s Newspaper

This contemporary research presentation and detailed market research synopsis on Maldives Telecommunications market is a real time presentation of all the specific market developments that have a lingering impact on current growth trajectory, besides also harping on vital predications in the realm of future growth scope.
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Next hearing in Yameen’s sentence appeal trial scheduled for October – Raajje

During Monday’s hearing in the money laundering trial, state prosecutors have refuted claims that they had ever decided against halting the cases linked to the suspects of the grand corruption scandal involving Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
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Myanmar
Quad Leaders Call on Myanmar Junta to End Violence – The Irrawaddy

Leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on Friday called for an end to the violence in Myanmar in a joint statement. US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday participated in the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, hosted by Biden in Washington.
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Rebel Fighters From India Cooperating With Myanmar Military Regime – The Irrawaddy

After the Myanmar military’s February 1 coup, Tamu was one of the first towns to take up arms against the junta, following a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
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‘No Future’ for Myanmar People Unless Spring Revolution Succeeds – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s military regime has been waging war in Chin State in the mountainous far west of the country for months. Intense fighting between the junta and civilian resistance groups has forced thousands of people to flee their homes, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. soldiers also shot down a Christian pastor in the town and mutilated his corpse.
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Myanmar’s NLD Marks 33rd Anniversary Facing Abolition Threat – The Irrawaddy

The National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar’s most popular political party, turns 33 years old on Monday. But a question mark hangs over its future following the military’s Feb. 1 coup.
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China Aiding Myanmar Armed Groups in Their COVID-19 Fight – The Diplomat

Earlier this week, the news agency AFP carried an interesting report detailing the Chinese government’s support to Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations and rebel groups.
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Nepal
Khadka rules out amendment to MCC- Himalaya

Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka has said there can be no amendment to the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement that Nepal has signed with the United States of America.
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Buddha Air aircraft safely lands at TIA amid reports of ‘landing gear issue’- Himalaya

A Buddha Air aircraft safely landed in Tribhuvan International Airport after a malfunction was reportedly detected in its landing gear early on Monday.
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Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts are vaccinating everyone above 18 years- TKP

Everyone above 18 can take the AstraZeneca vaccine from immunisation centers of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and those in the municipalities of the district can take the Vero Cell vaccine.
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After Covid-19 pandemic, it’s price rise that is biting Nepalis hard

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People exchanging old banknotes with new ones at NRB- Republica

Banks and financial institutions have started providing new bank notes starting Monday.
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Saptapatal Pokhari: A motivating case for Kathmandu heritage conservation- OnlineKhabar

The pond, which had a lot of religious significance, gradually got lost during the Kathmandu valley’s urbanisation drive.
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Pakistan
Govt, PML-N clash over UK court’s order on Sharifs- The Dawn

A UK court has ordered unfreezing of the bank accounts of PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and his son Suleman Shehbaz after the country’s National Crime Agency (NCA) did not find evidence regarding ‘suspicious bank transactions’ against them.
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Pakistan discussing expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan: envoy- The Dawn

Pakistan has discussed the Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, the Pakistan’s ambassador to the country said on Monday.
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No problem if country gets rule of law through reconciliation, says Nawaz Sharif- The News

MLN leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said that if the country will get rule of law and implementation of the Constitution through reconciliation then there is no need to fight.
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Pakistan supports inclusive govt in Afghanistan: Moeed Yousaf- The News

National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Moeed Yousaf has said Pakistan has always been supportive to the concerns and legitimate demands of the international community regarding an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
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‘Don’t blame Pakistan for the outcome of the war in Afghanistan’- The News

Let me put it plainly. Since 2001, I have repeatedly warned that the Afghan war was unwinnable.
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PML-N will ‘bury’ PTI in 2023 polls: Shehbaz- The Tribune

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said his party, under the leadership of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, would “bury for good” the politics of the ruling PTI in the 2023 general elections.
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Sri Lanka
Why Sri Lanka is losing many European tourists- Island

The tourist season, in Sri Lanka, will comence in November.
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Self-Employed Traders petition SC over govt. favouring liquor dealers- Island

The Supreme Court has decided take up, on 04 Oct. for hearing a petition filed by the Association of Self-Employed Traders against the opening of liquor stores during the current lockdown.
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Australia’s richest woman warns Australia will end up impoverished like Sri Lanka- Island

Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman worth $31billion, has warned Australia is on the same track as Sri Lanka and Argentina in falling from prosperity to poverty due to a big-spending, regulation-heavy government.
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CMC members launch Satyagraha- Daily Mirror

Some Members of the Colombo Municipal Council staged a Satyagraha yesterday against the alleged move by the Municipal Treasurer to delay funds to purchase dry rations for the needy people in the city who have been affected by the lockdown.
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Iran, Sri Lanka pledge to boost ties- Daily News

Emphasized on taking new steps in developing economic, trade relations with the South Asian Island nation.
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VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 27, 2021

Afghanistan
Female Leaders at UNGA Call for Afghan Women’s Rights: Tolo News

A number of women leaders attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York are vocally advocating for Afghan women and girls, saying their rights should not be taken away and the Taliban should refrain from violence.
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Imran Khan Seeks World’s Support to Taliban: Tolo News

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York urged the international community to engage with and support the Taliban instead of isolating them.
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Impossible for us to recognize Taliban: Italian FM: The Khaama Press

The foreign minister of Italy Luigi Di Maio strongly reacted to the Taliban’s caretaker cabinet and said that it is impossible for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to be recognized by them.
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Strengthening banking system, economic growth is of utmost importance: Taliban: The Khaama Press

Taliban say that the strengthening of the banking system, growth of commerce, and economy of Afghanistan is vital and will do their best in this regard.
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Bangladesh
80 lakh Covid shots in a single day!- Daily Star

The premises of a vaccination centre in Khulna Sadar Hospital is crammed with people waiting for their Covid shot. Volunteers at the centre said it is almost impossible to maintain social distancing when the crowd is so large.
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2 arrested for torturing teenager- Daily Star

Police have arrested two persons for brutally torturing a teenage boy for ransom in Natore on Saturday night.
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2002 attack on Hasina’s motorcade in Satkhira: Fugitive convict arrested in Dhaka- Daily Star

Detectives have arrested a convict in a case filed over the attack on the motorcade of the then opposition leader and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Satkhira 19 years ago.
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Experts wary of importing LNG- Dhaka Tribune

Three cargoes of LNG are being procured from the spot market to increase the country’s gas supply.
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World Sindhi Congress held protest in Geneva against human rights violations in Pak’s Sindh- Asian Age

The World Sindhi Congress (WSC on Thursday held a protest here against human rights violations in Pakistan’s Sindh province.
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BNP sees no success in PM’s US visit- Asian Age

Stating that the Prime Minister’s visit to the USA has ‘no success’, BNP on Sunday alleged that the government wants to take international advantage by keeping the Rohingya problem alive.
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Sedition case: Three Rajshahi BNP leaders granted bail- Daily Observer

The three leaders are BNP Chairperson’s adviser and former Rajshahi City mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, Rajshahi City BNP president Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and general secretary Shafiqul HuqueMilon.
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UNGA ends without speeches by Afghan, Myanmar delegates- New Age

The United Nations General Assembly in New York ends Monday but without speeches by those in power in Afghanistan and Myanmar.
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‘Bangabandhu’s historic UNGA speech in Bangla was greatest day of Bangabandhu’s life’- The Independent

Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first Bangalee who made history by delivering the first Bangla speech, for the first time in its history, at the 29th the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25, 1974.
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LPG pricing by BPC faces opposition from energy regulator, rights groups- Financial Express

A government move allowing BPC monopoly on pricing its liquefied petroleum gas, bypassing scrutiny, came under a broadside from both the country’s energy regulator and rights group.
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Bhutan
Are we normalising sexual harassment?- Kuensel

Playful age-old culture, many say, is being used to normalise sexual harassment today. The work place has changed from fields to offices and many now question if Bhutanese society is normalising sexual harassment in the name of culture.
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Let Climate Change not slide this time- Kuensel

The National Determined Contributions (NDC) synthesis report, published last week, reports on NDCs from all 191 Parties to the Paris Agreement.
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LG members to resign in the last week of October- Kuensel

The second local governments (LGs) will complete their terms in the last week of October.
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LDCs call for more climate finance- Kuensel

UN Climate Change published a report last week. Following the report, the Least Development Countries (LDC) called for deep emission cuts and scaled-up climate finance.
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Trucks ferrying boulders from Gelephu barred from plying via Meghalaya, India- Kuensel

Thirty-three trucks carrying boulders from Gelephu were stranded at the Assam-Meghalaya border in India for three weeks after being barred from entering Meghalaya on August 26.
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Dairy farmers start first yoghurt production firm in Dagana- Kuensel

Dagana’s deputy chief livestock officer, Pema Wangchuk, said that the 19-member dairy group was formed in 2014 to meet market demand for local milk, butter, and cheese.
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Bhutan is home to one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world- Daily Bhutan

Email There is even a festival for it, known as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival. There, you’ll get to sample various dishes prepared with this mushroom.
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Bhutan takes dog population management to another level- BBS

Today there are more than 72,000 dogs in the country and the number is only increasing. With it, there is an increase in dog bite cases and rabies outbreaks every year. To address this issue, the Livestock Department has come up with a strategy to achieve a hundred per cent sterilization of stray dogs.
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Implementing transformative pedagogy in schools effectively- Monggar- BBS

Transformative pedagogy is a teaching method that focuses more on engaging students in the learning process rather than a teacher giving lectures.
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Maldives
789 Covid-19 vaccination doses administered on Saturday – Raajje

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Saturday’s vaccinations included 156 first doses administered to 104 atoll residents and 52 residents of the Greater Malé Region, as well as 633 second doses.
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India remains top source market for Maldives tourism as total arrivals top 843,552 – Raajje

With 191,824 visitors by the end of the third month of the ongoing year, neighboring India remains the top source market for Maldives tourism.
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Myanmar
Forever ‘engaging’ the Tatmadaw? – The Star

THE suffering of millions of our neighbors in Myanmar is fading from our radar, as the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has raised fears of homegrown terrorists and lone wolves.
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Military assigns civilians administrative duties without its direct involvement: SAC chairman – Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (military) has assigned respective civilian administrative bodies without direct involvement with State administration as ruling over the public through armed bullying and fear is unacceptable, said Chairman of the State Administration Council and Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
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Military cuts off internet connection in 11 more townships in northwestern Myanmar -Myanmar Now

The junta cut off mobile internet access and most Wi-Fi services to 11 townships in war-torn areas of Chin State and Magway Region at 6pm on Thursday evening, according to locals and members of the local resistance forces in the area.
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It’s virtually certain no one will speak for Myanmar at U.N. – The Hindu

The dispute between Myanmar’s military rulers and the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi that they ousted about who should represent the country at the United Nations hasn’t been resolved.
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Risks of India getting sucked into Rakhine conflict – North East Now

A new book – “Irrawaddy Imperatives” by a serving Indian army brigadier Jaideep Chanda has pointed to the risks involved in Delhi getting militarily ‘sucked’ into the Rakhine conflict in Myanmar.
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Nepal
730 new Covid-19 cases surface on Sunday, active caseload drops to 19142- Himalaya

Nepal’s coronavirus caseload reached 791,392 on Sunday with 730 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours.
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‘CPN-UML will be defeated in polls’- Himalaya

Nepal Communist Party-Unified Socialist Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal said that the CPN-UML would face defeat in the upcoming general elections.
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Schools to run classes in-person- Himalaya

A large number of urban migrants’ kids are back in their villages and are virtually attending classes in their schools based in Kathmandu valley.
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PM directs NA to identify security challenges- Himalaya

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has expressed commitment not to let the Nepali Army suffer on account of inadequacy of resources.
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Deuba is struggling. But what is Maoist Centre up to?- Kathmandu Post

It has intrigued many as to why Dahal, the leader of the key coalition partner, is not providing a list of ministers to the prime minister to help him expand the Cabinet.
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No need to disclose investment source raises money laundering risk- Kathmandu Post

A new provision in the Financial Act for this fiscal year that it would not seek source of income from investors if they are investing in infrastructure projects and businesses has raised a question of policy reversal.
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Indra Jatra observed amid fanfare- Kathmandu Post

The eight-day festival, celebrated mainly in the three districts of Kathmandu Valley, Dhulikhel and Dolakha, formally began with the installation of lingo (a sacred wooden pole) at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square on Saturday morning.
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(Opinion) Helping Nepal’s Covid orphans- Nepali Times

Nearly 11,000 Nepalis have lost their lives to Covid-19 since the outbreak began in January 2020, most of them in the age group 20-50, but there are also children under 18. Hundreds of children have become orphans in the wake of the pandemic.
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Red tax: Everything you should know about Nepal protest over sanitary pad price- OnlineKahabar

The budget subsequently increased the price of sanitary pads in the market, creating a hullaballoo on social media and the country.
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NC 14th general convention: Myagdi and Mustang District Committees get new leadership- Republica

New leadership has been elected in all local levels of Myagdi and Mustang districts under the 14th General Convention of the Nepali Congress (NC).
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Make arrangements for students who returned from China due to COVID-19 to go back: Parliamentary committee- Republica

A parliamentary committee has directed the government to immediately make arrangements for students who returned from China due to COVID-19 to back and continue their studies.
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Border Study Committee Submits Report to Home Minister- Rising Nepal

The Committee formed to study the border issue between Nepal and China submitted its report to the government on Sunday.
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PM welcomes inclusion of Karachi coastal uplift plan in CPEC: Dawn

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday lauded the inclusion of Karachi’s coastal development plan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said the move would bring the city on a par with developed port cities of the world.
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FM Qureshi arrives in London on three-day official visit: The Express Tribune

Upon arrival at the Heathrow Airport, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Moazzam Ahmad Khan and Deputy High Commissioner Dr Faisal Aziz and other senior officials of the High Commission welcomed the foreign minister.
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Pakistan allows Afghan airline to operate Islamabad-Kabul flights: The Express Tribune

Pakistan has allowed an Afghan airline to operate its flights from Islamabad to Kabul, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official said on Sunday.
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‘Pakistan seeks trade deals with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman’: The News

Pakistan will pursue individual trade deals with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood said on Sunday, as talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council remain stalled, foreign media reported.
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Myanmar Round Up: August 2021

It has been six months since the declaration of the military coup, protests and demonstrations have continued. During the month, week, anti-coup demonstrations were reported in Kachin and Shan states, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, and Yangon regions. The protests on 08 August referred to the “8-8-88” democracy uprising on 08 August1988, which the then-military regime crushed.

On 01 August, Senior Army General Min Aung Hlaing announced himself as the Prime Minister and pledged to hold elections by 2023. However, Ms Schraner Burgener stated that Myanmar’s Permanent Representative in New York, Kyaw Moe Tun, remains its legitimate UN Ambassador, while Ms Suu Kyi and President Myint are its leaders. Recently, international media reported a plot was uncovered to kill Ambassador Tun, who denounced the coup in the General Assembly Hall in New York.1 Ms Burgener also said the situation in Myanmar “is still very worrisome”. The third wave of COVID-19 infections has also hit the country.

Political Situation

Senior General Min Hlaing announced the formation of a caretaker government and took on the role of Prime Minister. He also announced that the elections would be held by 2023. 2 The “Provisional Government” replaces the State Administration Council (SAC) chaired by Min Hlaing that has run Myanmar since the coup. The National League for Democracy (NLD) members shadow government, National Unity Government (NUG) condemned the military ruler’s decision to take on the role of the Prime Minister in a caretaker government and said the move was designed to win legitimacy.3 Later on 03 August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed the military’s elections plan.4

Military authorities forced one of the lawyers representing Aung San Suu Kyi to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This was done to stop statements of Suu Kyi from reaching the public. Suu Kyi has a five-member defence team, out of which one was forced to sign the agreement promising not to talk to local or international media. The court hearings were postponed at the start of July as the third wave of COVID-19 infections hit the country.5 Further, columnist Sithu Aung Myint and BBC Burmese presenter Htet Htet Khine were tracked down and arrested on 15 August. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned these latest arbitrary arrests, and called for their immediate release.6

During the month, the military faced protests, strikes and a resurgence of armed conflicts. The military authorities have branded their opponents as terrorists. In the Karen state, fighting between the military and the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), known as the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), occurred on a near-daily basis in Hpa-pun Township. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said the military was responsible for all the shootings between 03 to 08 August. The KIA opposed the regime and attacked junta troops and police stations in Kachin and northern Shan states since 11 March.7

On the other hand, at least 1,130 Myanmar soldiers were killed and 443 wounded in more than 700 clashes between junta forces and local militias across the country from June 1 to July 31, Myanmar’s shadow NUG said in a report. Moreover, more than 350 civilians were killed and nearly 140 wounded during the same period.8 In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Myanmar’s UN envoy Kyaw Moe Tun — described the incidents as “clearly amounting to crimes against humanity,” calling on the UN Security Council and the international community to impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar’s military.9

During the month, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing signed an amendment to the Counterterrorism Law, introducing harsher penalties for supporting anti-regime activities. Under the amendment, the jail term is increased from three to seven years for “acts of exhortation, persuasion, propaganda and recruitment of any person to participate in any terrorist group or activities of terrorism”.10

The United League of Arakan (ULA) is advancing steadily towards its objective of assuming administrative control in Rakhine State, and has seen a high level of compliance from the state’s residents with the stay-at-home order it issued on 20 July in response to the third wave of COVID-19. The ULA has also announced that it will set up a judiciary in Rakhine State. Since the coup the ULA and its armed wing, the Arakan Army, have accelerated their effort to expand their ability to govern the state and be seen as its legitimate governing body. Further, on 05 August, it announced plans to implement household registrations throughout the state and introduction of day and night patrols as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its state’s security. The ULA has also been punishing people for flouting the stay-at-home order.11

The latest wave of COVID-19 has made the country vulnerable to a health crisis. Myanmar’s army has carried out at least 252 attacks and threats against health workers since the coup. More than 190 health workers have been arrested and 86 raids on hospitals carried out since the coup, said the report by Insecurity Insight, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and Johns Hopkins University Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR). In addition, they identified 15 incidents in which the response to the COVID-19 outbreak had been obstructed – including confiscation of personal protection equipment and oxygen supplies for the exclusive use of the army. 12

International Scenario

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) appointed Brunei’s Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy. The appointment of a special envoy is part of a five-point consensus between ASEAN and Myanmar military leader Min Aung Hlaing in April. However, the decision has invited criticism. Aaron Connelly, an analyst with International Institute for Strategic Studies, stated that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore had “pushed for tougher language”, though it was vetoed by the military representative Wunna Maung Lwin.13 ASEAN also failed to recognise NUG formed CPRH. As a result, the body was excluded from the ASEAN 42nd assembly Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Brunei. The NUG members condemned ASEAN for excluding it and inviting a military representative as an observer. In April, the NUG’s representative was not invited to ASEAN’s special summit on Myanmar. Instead, the military leader attended the meeting.14 ASEAN has to date, not recognised the NUG government and representatives.

Another international investor retreated from Myanmar and sold all its businesses to a local partner finding it challenging to operate under military rule. Australian mining company Myanmar Metals Limited (MYL) has divested its entire stake in a mining project in Myanmar’s northeast. The company stated that the political situation in Myanmar had undermined the confidence of markets. MYL disposed of its 51-percent stake in the Bawdwin project to its local partner Win Myint Mo Industries Co Ltd for a total of USD 30 million.15 However, Indian Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) have claimed that the company believes that its investment in a port in Myanmar is not in violation of any sanction guidelines issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of Treasury and therefore, continued its investments.16

Nevertheless, few countries continued to provide emergency aid. The US announced USD 50 million to support relief groups dealing with the fallout from a surge in Covid-19 cases. The US funding will aid “those forced to flee violence and persecution” as well as help groups provide healthcare services in addition to essentials such as food, shelter and water, the State Department said.17

China has continued to provide its support by entering into agreements and helping the country via vaccines. China will transfer around USD 6 million to Myanmar’s government to fund 21 development projects. A Myanmar Foreign Ministry statement said the funds would be transferred from China for projects within the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation framework. It said those included animal vaccines, culture, agriculture, science, tourism, and disaster prevention.18 Since the military coup, the mining of rare-earth metals has increased in the Kachin state. Multiple sources told Frontier and Danwatch, a Danish investigative outlet that collaborated on this investigation, that the rare earth mining in Kachin is extracted illegally by Chinese or Chinese-backed companies in areas of Chipwi Township under the de facto control of an armed group and militia led by Kachin warlord Zahkung Ting Ying.19

The two countries, China and Myanmar also faced issues due to increased incidents in the bordering area with China. The Chinese authorities have sent a complaint letter to the Myanmar military demanding an investigation. In the letter, Chinese authorities said they were highly concerned about the recent incidents, describing them as breaches of the China-Myanmar border agreement. China also warned the incident repeats, it would “make the necessary response”. Moreover, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar Ambassador U Myo Thant Pe on 05 August and urged the regime to stop immediately fighting in border areas. In response, the regime claimed the artillery shell and bullets were fired by the MNDAA. The military rather stated that the military would attack armed groups that threatened the lives of people and the stability of the border areas. It urged China to collaborate with the Myanmar military to fight against armed groups and prevent them from occupying bases in border areas.20

India Myanmar Engagements

On 10 August, few members of the Manipur extremist group, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), were killed in a factional fight in Myanmar. The incident occurred near the Nanyang Wakathan camp of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang-Yung Aung) in the Sagaing region of Myanmar. According to intelligence officials, tensions rose because the Myanmar military was forced to either pay for lying low in the country or join the soldiers in fighting the pro-democracy forces. Moreover, the PLA cadre, short of money was also being pressured to fight the People’s Defence Force, the armed wing of Myanmar’s NUG in exile.21

On the other hand, Myanmar has conveyed its apprehension over the deployment of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) for the completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport (KMTT) project, the Union government informed the parliamentary committee on home affairs.22

In a successful operation, Assam Rifles recovered a huge cache of arms, ammunition and other war-like stores in Mizoram’s southernmost Lawngtlai district near the Indo-Myanmar border. The operation was carried out jointly by Assam Rifles troopers posted at Zorinpui, the southern tip of Mizoram on the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) road and state police from Bungtlang. However, no person was arrested in connection with the recoveries. In another major achievement, Assam Rifles and Customs department also seized 502 cases of smuggled foreign cigarettes on Ruantlang and Kelkang- Khaungleng road in Champhai district near the Myanmar border during a joint operation.23

The issue of Rohingya was again raised in Lok Sabha. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, informed that Rohingya Muslim migrants indulge in illegal activities for which the respective governments have been asked to take action. Rai also said that instructions had been issued to capture their biographic and biometric particulars and cancel fake Indian documents. Furthermore, steps have been taken to initiate deportation proceedings under provisions of law.24

Rohingya Crises

As the Rohingya crisis enters its fifth year, it is essential to reflect on the dismal situation of the refugees living and their continued repression. For the first time in five years, Rohingya refugees expelled from Myanmar testified in court on 17 August. According to activist group Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, five survivors of sexual violence testified to the Federal Criminal Appeal Court in Buenos Aires remotely from refugee camps in Bangladesh, according. However, the details of it were not shared.25

Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya since military crackdowns in 2017. Recently, World Bank initiated talks with Bangladesh to integrate Rohingya into the Bangladesh community. However, Bangladesh was against any long-term programme by the World Bank (WB) to integrate Rohingya into Bangladesh. Bangladesh has raised concerns as it faces problems of drug dealing, illegal human trafficking, prostitution, expansion of illegal markets. Also, serious damage to resources, lands, deforestation is now common in Chittagong. Bangladesh also claimed that such proposals hamper the initiatives taken by Bangladesh for Rohingya repatriation.26

Despite the NUG unveiling plans to amend the country’s constitution, and give citizenship to the Rohingya, the authorities in Myanmar currently have no plan to include minority Rohingya Muslims living in camps as they begin vaccinating priority groups against COVID-19 in western Rakhine State. Local administrator Kyaw Lwin told Reuters from Sittwe township that the rollout had begun with 10,000 vaccinations for priority groups such as the elderly, healthcare workers, government staff and Buddhist monks. However, he said there were no current plans for vaccinating any Muslims living in camps in Sittwe. Following an outcry from the human rights group, the Myanmar military backtracked on its plans to withhold Covid-19 vaccinations from the Rohingya minority in Rakhine. Instead, the military’s spokesman said in a news conference on 27 August that vaccinations will be offered to Rohingya in Rakhine.

The Way Forward

The fighting between Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups increased in August and is expected to intensify in the coming days as the military has sent reinforcements to rebel-held territories. The military has asked its unit commanders and other senior officers to be combat ready in a recent order. On the other hand, around 1500 soldiers have defected from Myanmar’s military since the coup and have joined the troops created by the political opposition to fight the military. The number of vulnerable refugees has increased. It is time to bring all stakeholders to the table and resolve the current crisis. Furthermore, it is important to cease all attacks from the side of the military and gain the trust of the citizens.

Endnotes
  1. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1097452
  2. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/fears-of-another-long-dictatorship-as-myanmar-coup-maker-appoints-himself-pm.html
  3. https://www.euronews.com/2021/08/03/us-myanmar-politics
  4. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/us-dismisses-myanmar-juntas-election-plan.html
  5. https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/suu-kyis-lawyer-forced-to-sign-pledge-not-to-speak-to-the-media
  6. https://rsf.org/en/news/two-more-journalists-arrested-myanmars-military-junta-0
  7. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-shells-kachin-civilians.html
  8. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/killed-08132021181109.html
  9. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/06/asia/myanmar-bodies-found-army-crackdown-intl-hnk/index.html
  10. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-coup-chief-amends-counterterrorism-law.html
  11. https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/arakan-army-extends-administrative-grip-on-rakhine-state/
  12. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-army-attacks-medics-hampering-covid-response-rights-groups-say-2021-08-10/
  13. https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3143809/asean-appoints-brunei-diplomat-erywan-yusof-envoy-myanmar
  14. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-ousted-mps-condemn-asean-for-inviting-junta-to-parliamentary-summit.html
  15. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/australian-mining-company-sells-stake-in-myanmar-project.html
  16. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/australian-mining-company-sells-stake-in-myanmar-project.html
  17. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/beijing-to-transfer-82m-to-myanmar-junta-to-fund-development-projects
  18. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/beijing-to-transfer-82m-to-myanmar-junta-to-fund-development-projects
  19. https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/weapons-power-and-money-how-rare-earth-mining-in-kachin-enriches-a-tatmadaw-ally/
  20. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-complains-after-shell-gunfire-from-myanmar-hit-border-town.html
  21. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/six-of-manipur-extremist-group-killed-in-myanmar-say-officials/article35872422.ece
  22. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/myanmar-objects-to-bro-presence-in-trilateral-road-project/articleshow/85282213.cms
  23. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/mizoram/mizoram-security-forces-recover-arms-and-ammunition-from-lawngtlai-near-india-myanmar-border.html
  24. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-says-rohingyas-indulging-in-illegal-activities-101628601441879.html
  25. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/rohingya-to-give-first-testimony-in-push-for-myanmar-army-probe
  26. WB has undertaken a long-term program for 16 countries hosting refugees and they will provide money from a Tk2,000 ( Bangladesh Taka) crore fund. https://www.eurasiareview.com/04082021-world-banks-proposal-local-integration-of-rohingyas-in-bangladesh-possible-oped/
  27. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-covid-vaccination-rollout-leaves-rohingya-waiting-2021-08-11/
  28. https://www.ucanews.com/news/rohingya-receive-covid-jabs-as-myanmar-junta-extends-rollout/93922#
  29. https://www.laprensalatina.com/some-1500-soldiers-have-deserted-myanmar-army-since-coup-media/

Myanmar Round Up: July 2021

During the month, Myanmar faced a double crisis – political turmoil and COVID-19. The country’s health care system has collapsed, and the number of cases reported is vastly underestimated because of limited testing. At an informal Security Council discussion, Barbara Woodward, Britain’s UN Ambassador, warned that half of Myanmar could be infected with COVID-19 by the end of July. Myanmar is struggling with a surge in infections and the military ruler is calling for greater cooperation with the international community to contain the COVID-19 wave. The military has assured that six million Chinese vaccines and two million Russian vaccines would be delivered. With COVID-19 deaths rising in Myanmar, allegations are growing from residents and human rights activists that the military government is using the pandemic to consolidate power and crush the opposition.

Economic and Political Crises

World Bank’s Myanmar Economic Monitor stated that the economy is expected to contract around 18 percent in Myanmar’s 2021 Fiscal Year (Oct 2020-Sep 2021). The ongoing political turmoil and a rising third wave of COVID-19 cases have a damaging impact on lives, livelihoods, poverty and future growth. It also predicted that the country’s economy is around 30 percent smaller than it would have been in the absence of COVID-19 and the military takeover of February 2021.

Economic activity has been hit by reduced mobility and incomes, protests and labour shortages, as well as the ongoing disruption of critical business services, including logistics and telecommunications, and public services such as health and education. In addition, the physical currency remains in short supply and access to banking and payment services remains limited. As of mid-July, the Myanmar Kyat had depreciated by around 23 percent against the US dollar since late January, which combined with trade disruptions has led to rapid price increases for some imported products, including fuel. These shocks have weakened consumption, investment, and trade, and disrupted businesses’ operations and the supply of labour and inputs.1

In further development, two statements issued by the National League for Democracy (NLD) has been accepted as evidence against Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and Naypyitaw Mayor Myo Aung, who are charged under Section 505 b of the Penal Code. The statements, released by the party’s central executive committee on February 7 and 13, were submitted as part of the incitement case. The 07 February statement urged the international community not to recognise the coup regime. And the 13 February statement stated that all regulations, rules and laws enacted by the military were illegal. Judge Maung Maung Lwin ruled out the defence team’s objection to the submitted evidence.2 During the month, Myanmar security forces searched Suu Kyi’s house without a search warrant, according to her lawyer.3

Clashes Continue

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) attacked three military bases in the Kachin State towns of Mogaung and Waingmaw on 29 July, and launched an assault on the junta’s Waingmaw-based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 58. Later, the KIA also attacked two military bases between Kutkai and Muse townships in northern Shan State. In addition, the KIA intercepted and attacked seven naval vessels belonging to the military on the Irrawaddy River near Shwegu in Kachin State.4 Clashes have been breaking out between the military and the KIA in Kachin State since April.

Despite last month’s peace talks, clashes between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF) are continuing. The KNLA’s Brigade 1 clashed with a BGF battalion led by Major Saw Tin Win near the village of Kontangyi in northern Hpa-an Township in Karen State. Between 15 to 22 July, there were 29 clashes between the military forces and Brigade 5 of the KNU’s armed wing, the KNLA. The military-backed Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) joined junta soldiers in attacks against the KNLA, clashing with the group’s Battalion 1 in Thaton, across the border in Mon State.5

Fighting erupted between Chinland Defence Force (CDF) and Myanmar military in Mindat Township for the first time since a temporary ceasefire. The peace agreement brokered between the military council and CDF (when CDF in Mindat was called Mindat People’s Administration) expired on 12 May, after the former refused to release all of the youths it arrested. On 13 May, the military council imposed martial law. The military sent troops to Mindat and shelled CDF positions, and the civilian resistance group retreated to the jungle. A second temporary ceasefire was brokered from 20 June to 04 July, which was extended until 16 July.6

Organisations like the KIA, Karenni Army and KNLA have shown solidarity in their position against the military. To counter these, pro-military social media users spread disinformation to cause rifts between the groups or discourage other prospective trainees from entering the ethnic-controlled territory. Many Facebook posts have accused ethnic armed organisations of killing or mistreating civilian trainees. However, the posts provide no evidence to support the allegations, and both People’s Defence Forces and the armed organisations have denied the incidents.7

Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch have accused that dozens of journalists have fled from Myanmar to Thailand since the military seized power to escape a crackdown on the country’s free press. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, around 98 journalists have escaped the country since the military crackdown.

In addition, the Taa’ng National Liberation Army (TNLA) ordered businesses operating within its territory to stop selling products made by military-owned companies. Merchants were given the order at meetings held in TNLA-controlled townships and villages. Products banned under the new rules include Myanmar Beer, Red Ruby and Premium Gold cigarettes, and tickets for buses run by Shwe Mann Thu, Parami, and other military companies. This will promote the nationwide campaign to boycott military products. The ousted National Unity Government has also endorsed the order.8

International Responses

Damian Lilly, the author of the report, published by the New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI), accused the UN of doing little and being directionless in taking any coherent steps to control Myanmar’s crises. Lilly also accuses China and Russia of their role in obstructing efforts to hold the Generals to account. 9

In another striking move, Myanmar’s military rulers seek to replace the country’s ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Moe Tun, who condemned the coup and refused to recognise the military regime. Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that he had appointed Aung Thurein as Myanmar’s UN ambassador. Lwin stated that the Kyaw Tun was terminated on 27 February 2021, due to his failure to perform his assigned duty and mandate. This was the second attempt to remove Kyaw Tun; earlier on 12 May also a letter was sent to the UN, but no action was taken.10

On 02 July, the United States announced sanctions on seven military personnel and 15 individuals in the family of previously sanctioned officials and businesses related to the Myanmar military. Additionally, the US Commerce Department restricted trade exports to four companies, which provide services to the Myanmar military. 11

Despite the call for the imposition of the arms embargo by the international and civil society groups, Russia has delivered a consignment of Sukhoi Su-30SME multi-role fighter jets and military training aircraft to Myanmar. In addition, Myanmar has been using Russian Mig-29 and Jak-130 aircraft for a long time; and the two countries have established close cooperation in the defence field. 12

Given the surge of COVID-19 cases, China has closed its border with Myanmar. In addition, it is adding a barbed-wire fence spanning around 600 kilometres between Ruili, Lijiang, and the Gaoligong mountains in its southwestern province of Yunnan. China is also constructing walls to block soldiers, ethnic militias, drug, and gun-smuggling from entering in the country.13

Amid Myanmar’s COVID-19 spike, the developer of the controversial China-backed Shwe Koko new city project near the Thai border in Karen State has been recruiting staff, prompting fears over a rise in cross-border crime. The Irrawaddy has been told Yatai International Holding Group (IHG), which Chinese investors run, has been recruiting a manager for a five-star hotel, human resources manager, an accountant and gardeners this month. The project is also controlled by the Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF), an armed group backed by Myanmar’s military. The project was suspended after the National League for Democracy government formed a tribunal to investigate irregularities. However, following the February coup, activity at Shwe Koko appeared to revive, including hiring new staff and restarting gambling. 14

The Thai army seized face masks illegally imported into Myanmar from Maw Taung-Singkhon pass on 22 July, according to Thai media. They found 44 packings of KF94 face masks manufactured by South Korea, 17 packings of three-ply masks. According to Article 167 of the 2017 Thai Ordinance, these items are part of a controlled substance that prohibits the availability of adequate medical supplies in the country and their export.15

Myanmar’s military government banned telecommunications company executives from leaving the country without authorisation. Before the coup, Myanmar’s primary telecom and internet service companies, Telenor, Ooredoo, MPT, and Mytel were pressured in 2020 to install a “lawful intercept” without any legal processes in place to protect citizens’ privacy. Telenor, a Norwegian telecoms firm and one of two foreign operators in the telecoms sector of Myanmar, flagged the plans publicly and expressed concern for citizens’rights to privacy and freedom of expression on 03 December 2020.

Telenor sold its Myanmar business to the Lebanese investment firm M1 Group after the military’s travel ban on telecom executives. Activists in Myanmar fear that the exit of Telenor will cause further obstructions to their free expression as they relied on the company as a protector of human rights. The Western company’s decision to sell its Myanmar business likely reflects the increasing difficulty of continuing operations under principles of free communication and expression. 16

The civil society organisations have filed a formal complaint with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) accusing Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor of “irresponsible disengagement” from the country. The Netherlands-based Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) submitted the complaint on behalf of the 474 Myanmar groups. They alleged that the Telenor Group’s sale of its Myanmar operations to the Lebanese M1 Group is in violation of OECD standards outlining the requirements for a responsible exit from the country. The OECD complaint described M1 Group, a Mikati family enterprise, as an unsuitable partner for Telenor’s handover. The Mikati’s are accused of having a history of businesses in authoritarian countries including Syria, Sudan and Yemen, as well as face allegations of corruption and terrorist financing. 17

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution on 12 July 2021 titled the “Human Rights Situation of Rohingya Muslims and other Minorities in Myanmar” a powerful message to the regime for its gross violations of human rights, specifically against the stateless Rohingyas. Bangladesh has played a crucial role in the approval of the resolution. The resolution condemned human rights’ violations by Myanmar military against the Rohingya and other minorities, and called for a reconciliation process. The resolution was approved without a vote in the Geneva-based council. China, one of the 47 council members, told it could not join the consensus but did not insist on bringing the text to a vote.18 However, Myanmar’s military rejected the resolution, and stated that the resolution is “based on false information and one-sided allegations”. 19

India’s Engagement in Myanmar

A Singapore-based Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) report titled, “Myanmar Coup, Resistance and India’s Response: Fractured Between Words and Deeds” has stated that a possible full-scale armed revolt in Myanmar will have a spill-over effect on India. The report also said India has an opportunity to build on the “reservoirs of goodwill” with many of the Myanmarese citizens. The Indian Border States that share religious, kinship and historical affinities with people in Myanmar are supporting Myanmar people; for instance, Mizoram is hosting more than 15,000 Myanmar refugees. However, the report underlined India’s fears that condemning the military publicly would result in alienating Myanmar and pushing it closer towards China. 20

However, India has come under the radar of Myanmar anti-coup activists who are opposed to the idea of any relationship between the Indian government and Myanmar military. Justice for Myanmar (JFM) condemned the awarding of a contract by the Indian government-owned Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata to A to Z EXIM Ltd—a unit of the Mumbai-based Bharat Freight Group—to operate, maintain and develop the port and inland water transport terminals at Sittwe, Rakhine State and Paletwa, Chin State. 21

Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi has raised concerns about the illegal smuggling of arms, gold, drugs and liquor through Myanmar via Moreh and requested the Indian Army to play a more dominant role in controlling the inter-state movement.22 In another incident, fifteen Rohingya immigrants, including six minors and three women, have been held by Railway Police Force (RPF) in Assam’s Karimganj district. According to reports, the RPF personnel had intercepted 15 people sitting in Badarpur railway station after observing some suspicious activities. 23

Conclusion

Over recent days, the country has rapidly descended into the most severe public health crisis. The hospitals are struggling with a shortage of oxygen supplies and lack of intensive care capacity while just a small percentage of the population has been vaccinated against the virus. Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) are playing a crucial role in addressing COVID in the territory where they have control, such as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) carried out extensive COVID-19 tests and restricted entry to Laiza and Maijayang, since the first week of July. The KIA has also vaccinated some 30,000 people with COVID-19 vaccines donated by China. 24

Due to political crises and continued clashes, thousands have been displaced by military attacks in recent months, placing them at even greater risk. Myanmar urgently needs international support to address the unfolding tragedy. Right now, the humanitarian response from UN agencies and international organisations is inadequate.

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 24, 2021

Afghanistan
UNSC P5 Seek Stable Afghanistan with Inclusive Govt: Tolo News

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday at a press conference said all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are united in seeking a stable Afghanistan and an inclusive government. Click here to read

Afghan Newspapers Stop Printing, Go Online: Tolo News

Watchdog organizations recently said the Afghan media outlets are running out of funds and face a lack of information under the Taliban. Click here to read

It’s general amnesty, don’t defame IEA: Taliban’s acting defense minister to his fighters: The Khaama Press

The acting defense minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob called on foot soldiers that general amnesty has been announced and no one should defame the IEA with their arbitrary actions. Click here to read

Pakistan asks Intl-Community to be lenient with Taliban, release reserves: The Khaama Press

Pakistani foreign minister Mahmoud Qureshi has asked the US, IMF, and other countries to release billions of dollars frozen by them so that the situation gets better in Afghanistan. Click here to read

Utmost poverty, former Afghan policeman commits suicide: Tolo News

A former Afghan policeman commits suicide in eastern Kunar province after he was left without a job and the previous government did not pay his three months’ salary. Click here to read

Bangladesh
Time for action, not words, rhetoric- Daily Star

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the global community to turn their “words and rhetoric” over the Rohingya crisis into actions to reach a desired solution to the protracted problem. Click here to read

Maritime Disputes with India: Bangladesh asks UN to settle issues- Daily Star

Bangladesh has made a formal objection to the UN Secretary-General over certain maritime issues with India that are continuing even after their settlement in 2014. Click here to read

PM Hasina to address UNGA general debate on Friday- Dhaka Tribune

The prime minister’s speech will dominate the issues of Rohingya, climate change and post Covid-19 economic recovery. Click here to read

Law minister: Will allow Khaleda to go abroad if that’s what the people want- Dhaka Tribune

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will be allowed to go abroad for treatment if that is what the people of Bangladesh want, says Law Minister Anisul Huq. Click here to read

US to give $178m in aid for Rohingya- Asian Age

The United States will provide $178 million in humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Click here to read

Grameen Bank sued for Tk 670m VAT ‘evasion- Asian Age

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has lodged a case against Grameen Bank for allegedly evading value added tax (VAT) of around Tk 67 crore. Click here to read

PM proposes developing ‘global resilient food system’- The Observer

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called for developing a “resilient food system” globally by producing more food for growing population of the world as she placed a five-point recommendation at a summit in New York. Click here to read

Bhutan
Apple growers turn to Bhutan Agro as export options grow slim- Kuensel

Finding it difficult to sell their apples and with lower export prices this year, farmers are selling apples to Bhutan Agro Industries Limited (BAIL) at Nu 20 per kilogramme (kg). Click here to read

BHSL manufactures turbines- Kuensel

Bhutan Hydropower Service Limited (BHSL) in Jigmeling, Sarpang has started manufacturing runners (turbines) for the hydropower plants in the country and also for the hydropower projects in India and Turkey. Click here to read

Solar water heating system benefits public institutions- Kuensel

A 1,000-litre solar water heating system (SWHS) installed in 2018 at Bjishong Central School (BCS) in Gasa gave boarding students the luxury of bathing with hot water. Click here to read

Bhutan to pilot a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project with Ripple- Daily Bhutan

Email In a recent press release by the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA), Bhutan will be collaborating with Ripple Labs, Inc. to pilot a project on central bank digital currency (CBDC). Click here to read

HH appoints Principal and Lam- BBS

His Holiness the Je Khenpo appointed a new Principal for Rinchenling Shedra in Wangdue Phodrang and a new Lam for the Phuentshogling Zangtopelri in Chhukha. Click here to read

Maldives
New advisory committee formed under Education Act- AVAS

An advisory committee to offer counsel to the Education Ministry during emergency situations has been established. Click here to read

Monitoring mechanisms lifted from Dhuvaafaru after 120 days- AVAS

The Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s monitoring mechanisms have been lifted from Raa Dhuvaafaru island after 120 days. Click here to read

‘Hope to have King Salman Mosque inaugurated by Crown Prince’- AVAS

Maldives’ Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Khaleel has said the government hopes to have the ‘King Salman Mosque’ officially opened by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Bin Salman. Click here to read

Man arrested for posting threats against Nasheed jailed again- AVAS

The man arrested for posting death threats against the Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed has been sentenced to jail for one month for contempt of court. Click here to read

HDC seeking party to install CCTVs at Hiyaa towers-AVAS

Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is seeking a party to procure and install CCTV cameras at the Hiyaa social housing towers. Click here to read

Pres Solih meets Portuguese pres on UNGA sidelines- AVAS

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has met with the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Click here to read

Myanmar
Mandalay youth leader killed in Kayah State battle- Myanmar Now

A 20-year-old protest leader dies in Demoso Township after arriving in Kayah State in early September to join the armed resistance against the coup regime. Click here to read

Eight Myanmar army soldiers defect to Chinland Defence Force- Myanmar Now

The Chinland Defence Force (CDF) claims that there are now eight soldiers who have deserted the Myanmar army and joined their resistance group over the last two months. Click here to read

Court hearings around Official Secrets Act charge commence for Aung San Suu Kyi and Sean Turnell- Myanmar Now

Suu Kyi, Turnell and three former cabinet members face up to 14 years in prison if convicted by the junta of violating the colonial-era law. Click here to read

Junta forces in Kalay arrest and kill man accused of making guns for resistance fighters- Myanmar Now

A family friend said Kyaw Min Oo, who owned a welding and lathing workshop, had never made weapons or been involved in armed resistance to the coup regime. Click here to read

Brother of Slain Myanmar Pastor Says Regime Fails to Take Accountability for Atrocities- Irrawaddy

When junta forces launched heavy artillery strikes on his hometown in western Myanmar’s Chin State on Saturday afternoon, setting fire to many houses, Christian Pastor Cung Biak Hum couldn’t stand still—he felt compelled to try to save his town. Click here to read

More Volunteers and Civilians Detained in Myanmar’s Anti-Regime Stronghold- Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s military regime has detained two volunteers who are aiding displaced people in Kayah State, as well as two residents of Loikaw Township in Kayah. Click here to read

Australian adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi appears in military court- Eleven

An Australian adviser to Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in a military court to face immigration and official secrets charges, a lawyer involved in the case said on Thursday (Sept 23). Click here to read

Urgent action needed to end catastrophe in Myanmar: UN report- The Observer

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said urgent action is needed to prevent the situation in Myanmar from spiraling into a full-blown conflict. Click here to read

Nepal
National Assembly passes Appropriation Bill-2021- Himalaya

National Assembly has passed the Appropriation Bill-2021 BS, on 23 September. Click here to read

KMC allows schools to open conditionally- Himalaya

Kathmandu Metropolitan City has decided to allow all the schools inside the metropolis to conduct in-person classes conditionally, with effect from September 26. Click here to read

Unmanaged border crossings may expose Nepal’s Achilles heel in stemming Covid-19- Kathmandu Post

Tens of thousands of people enter the country daily through checkpoints set up at various land crossings with India. Click here to read

‘Death sentence’: low-lying nations implore faster action on climate at U.N.- Republica

The failure by developed economies to effectively curb their greenhouse gas emissions contributes to rising sea levels and especially imperils island and low-lying nations at the mercy of water. Click here to read

NC to hold district convention in mountainous districts before Dashain. – Republica

The Nepali Congress has decided to conduct the district conventions of the party in the mountainous region before Dashain festival. Click here to read

Climate change in agriculture: Nepal food security at stake due to apathetic govt, unaware farmers- OnlineKhabar

Today, no one except those producing and selling vegetables on a large scale cultivates onions in the village. Click here to read

Pakistan
Qureshi meets Blinken, urges engagement with Taliban: Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly sessioClick here to read

Pakistan, China agree not to alter tariff on power deals: Dawn

Pakistan and China on Thursday agreed to keep unchanged the tariff and tax policies relating to power sector contracts and arrest and prosecute the attackers of July 14 Dasu bus tragedy at the earliest. Click here to read

Pakistan urges OIC to take concrete steps for resolution of Kashmir issue: Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called upon members states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take concrete steps to resolve the long-standing Kashmir dispute, saying “Kashmiri people counted on the OIC and the Muslim Ummah more than ever”. Click here to read

EVMs a plot to rig next general elections, says Maryam: The Express Tribune

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz termed on Thursday the government’s proposal to use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) a plot for rigging the next general elections. Click here to read

If population grows at current pace, Pakistan may face issues of hunger, poverty: PM: The News

Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said if food crops production did not increase and the population explosion continued, the country might face famine and poverty in the years to come. Click here to read

Pak, Saudi leadership capable of leading world: President Alvi: The News

President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday, while lauding their approach on international issues, said the leadership of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was capable to lead the world through their vision. Click here to read

Sri Lanka
Questionable deal with US energy firm: Professionals’ National Front asks whether govt. received AG’s consent – The Island

Professionals’ National Front (PNP) Spokesperson Kapila Renuka Perera yesterday warned of dire consequences of going ahead with the government’s controversial agreement with the US energy firm New Fortress Energy. Click here to read

PM to head CoL meeting today – Daily FT

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead the Cost-of-Living (CoL) Committee meeting today which will decide on the essential goods price hike and resolve certain issues related to import containers stuck at Colombo Port. Click here to read

1,368 persons test positive for COVID-19 – Daily FT

Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 detections rose to 510,040 with 1,368 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Click here to read

National Peace Council Welcomes President’s speech at UN; says joint effort key for reconciliation – Daily FT

The National Peace Council in a statement yesterday welcomed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s speech at the UN General Assembly but emphasised a joint effort is required for reconciliation to become a reality. Click here to read

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 22, 2021

Afghanistan
New Cabinet Members Announced, Inauguration Cancelled: Tolo News

Some new members of the caretaker cabinet of the Taliban were announced on Tuesday with an effort to ensure inclusivity by adding “minorities” to the cabinet as Zabihullah Mujahid, the deputy minister for information and culture, said.
Click here to read…

Afghan Media Face Budget Issues, Lack of Access to Information: Tolo News

Afghan media outlets are running out of budget and are faced with lack of information under the Taliban, watchdog organizations said, alarming that it will leave long-term impacts on their activities.
Click here to read…

Only minister of Ashraf Ghani’s cabinet sacked by Taliban: The Khaama Press

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan sacked the only remaining acting minister of the previous government Waheed Majroh and appointed Qalandar Ebad as acting minister of public health on Tuesday, September 21.
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Pakistan, China, Russia’s envoys meet Taliban premier, Afghan politicians: The Khaama Press

Special representatives of Russia, China, and Pakistan to Afghanistan met with the Prime Minister of Afghanistan Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund in the presidential Palace (Arg) on Tuesday, September 21.
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Taliban changes name of university in Kabul: The Khaama Press

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan officially changed the name of a government university from University of Burhanuddin Rabbani-former Afghan President and founder of Afghanistan’s second-biggest political party- to Kabul Education University.
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Bangladesh
‘Bangladesh to get 89 lakh Covid vaccine doses in last quarter of 2021’- The Daily Star

A total of 89 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be shipped to Bangladesh in the last three months of the year, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said in a Facebook post early on Wednesday.
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Chart roadmap for the ones left behind- The Daily Star

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stressed the need for charting out a bold and ambitious global roadmap to put the world back on the SDGs track.
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Indian officials claim to have seized 3 tonnes of Afghan heroin- The Daily Star

Indian officials said on Tuesday they had seized nearly three tonnes of heroin originating from Afghanistan worth an estimated 200 billion rupees ($2.72 billion) amid the chaos following last month’s takeover of the country by the Taliban.
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Covid test at airport: Six labs expected to test samples- Dhaka Tribune

Hossain/Dhaka Tribune Lack of coordination among government authorities delaying the set-up of rt-PCR labs at Dhaka airport, says expatriate minister.
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Get organized for anti-govt movement- New Age

Stating that farmers are now the most neglected section of people in Bangladesh, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday urged the peasants to get organised for waging a strong anti-government movement.
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Time to introduce online agricultural supply chain- The Observer

It is widely known that, during the initial days of the lockdown in 2020, farmers and wholesalers around the country had to struggle for delivering their products to the markets of large cities.
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PM seeks US investment in ICT, renewable energy, blue economy- The Independent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought US investment in country’s different promising sectors such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT), renewable energy, agro-processing, blue economy, tourism and hi-tech parks.
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PM for forming Women Leaders’ Network to pursue gender equality- The Independent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today laid special emphasis on forming a Women Leaders’ Network as it can act as a force to ensure gender equality.
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Bangladesh PM gets SDG Progress Award- New Age

The UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Solutions Network has conferred prime minister Sheikh Hasina with ‘SDG Progress Award’ for Bangladesh’s.
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Bhutan
India Commits Rs.45 Billion For Bhutan’s Development For 12th Five-year Plan- Republic World

Strengthening India’s diplomatic ties with Bhutan, India has announced the allocation of Rs. 45 Billon for Bhutan’s development in its 12th Five-year plan.
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Bhutan celebrates 50 years of UN membership- Kuensel

More than 50 years after His late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck delivered this landmark address in 1971, after Bhutan’s successful admission to the United Nations Organisation.
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6 ways Bhutan is building better food systems – from farm to table- ReliefWeb

To overcome systemic problems in Bhutan’s food systems — which include every step involved in getting food from farm to table — the World Food Programme (WFP) is investing US$7 million to support the Royal Government of Bhutan in improving climate-resilient agriculture.
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Ericsson to install 5G network in Kingdom of Bhutan- Capacity

Ericsson has won a 5G contract with Bhutan Telecom as the landlocked Eastern Himalayan country prepares to launch 5G services at the end of the year.
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Bhutan’s boulder exports stuck since 1st September Tenzing Lamsang- The Bhutanese

Bhutan’s thriving boulder exports business is stuck since the 1st of September as Bhutanese trucks from Phuentsholing and Samtse are not being allowed to move in West Bengal.
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Once in a Life Time Event: How Bhutan celebrated her admission to the United Nations- Kuensel

Exactly fifty years ago, Bhutan was unanimously elected as the 128th member of the United Nations.
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Illegal structures on State land removed in Tsirang- Kuensel

The Tsirang dzongkhag administration demolished 12 of the 14 houses that were built illegally on State land in Dzomlingthang under Gosarling gewog on September 15.
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RCSC removes about 500 positions in civil service- Kuensel

The 12th Five-Year Plan staffing and organisation structure review resulted in removal of 228 messenger (GSP) positions.
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Bhutan’s pursuit of happiness in the pandemic era- The Asia Pacific Policy Society

After decades of development gains, the impacts of COVID-19 threaten the inclusiveness and sustainability of Bhutan’s future, Dendup Chophel and Phurba write.
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Maldives
Maldives’ President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih addresses the UN – UPI

Maldives’ President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. (Pool Photo by John Minchillo/UPI)
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ISRO case: Maldives women urge CBI to place their damages claim before Supreme Court – New Indian Express

Two Maldives nationals, who were also arrested along with scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO spy case, have moved the CBI requesting it to place before the Supreme Court their claim for damages of Rs 2 crore from each of the 18 officers who are arrayed as accused in the conspiracy case being probed by the agency.
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Myanmar
Myanmar’s extreme Buddhist nationalists – Lowly Institute

In a surprise move, Myanmar’s ruling military junta announced on 6 September the release from prison of Ashin Wirathu, a controversial Buddhist monk whose sermons have been blamed for inciting anti-Muslim violence over the last decade.
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Junta steps up raids and arrests in effort to stamp out Yangon guerrilla attacks – Myanmar Now

Soldiers carried out raids from Monday through Thursday in five townships across Myanmar’s largest city after resistance forces carried out several recent attacks against the junta’s armed forces.
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Rohingya Armed Groups Active Again in Western Myanmar – The Irrawaddy

Long before the junta’s February 1 coup, the Rohingya crisis was making headlines in the international media.
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This video has circulated in reports since 2020 about another conflict in Myanmar – Fact Check

A video of an attack on a military convoy has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts in August 2021 that claim it shows a recent ambush in Myanmar.
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U.S. and China Avert Potential Clash in U.N. Over Myanmar Representation – WSJ

Myanmar’s permanent representative to the United Nations, a holdover from the country’s deposed civilian government, will sit out a series of high-level meetings in New York this week, averting for now a potential clash between the U.S. and China over who should represent the country on the world stage.
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Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (14 – 20 September 2021) – Relief Web

The humanitarian situation in Sagaing Region remains challenging, with armed clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and local People’s Defence Forces (PDF) reported in several areas, which led to the displacement of some 18,600 people from Kalay, Kani, and Myaung townships between 7 and 10 September.
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Nepal
We have ample evidence that China has encroached upon our land in Humla: Lawmaker Shahi- KhbaraHub

Members of the committee recently formed by the government to study the border dispute in t Shahihe Humla district are currently working on the report.
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1036 new Covid cases recorded Tuesday, active caseload stands at 21,524- Himalaya

Nepal’s coronavirus caseload reached 786,577 on Tuesday with 1,036 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours.
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Nepal Infrastructure Bank (NIFRA) proposes 8.50 per cent cash dividend- Himalaya

Nepal Infrastructure Bank (NIFRA) has proposed to distribute dividends to the shareholders from the FY 2077/78.
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Appropriation Bill tabled in National Assembly- Himalaya

The Appropriation Bill, 2078 BS was tabled in the National Assembly today.
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SAARC meet on UN assembly sidelines called off over Afghanistan- Kathmandu Post

Officials say there was lack of concurrence from member states on the meeting which Nepal proposed last week and sent out invitations to all except Kabul. https://tkpo.st/3EDy6lQ” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…
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UML’s partisan politics enters upper house, as members demand Speaker’s resignation- Kathmandu Post

Observers say Nepali parties have failed to comprehend the spirit of the National Assembly and made it a platform to squabble over petty interests.
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Deuba recalls 12 envoys appointed by Oli- Kathmandu Post

Twenty-three missions are now set to go headless, and some are in key countries—India, China, US, UK and Qatar.
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Prithvi Highway disrupted after landslide- Republica

Landslide occurred at Ichhakamana in Chitwan has disrupted vehicular movement along the Prithvi Highway.
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Gilles Bourbao is the new French ambassador to Nepal- Online Khabar

France has appointed senior foreign affairs advisor Gilles Bourbao as the new ambassador to Nepal.
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Landslide Buries Three to Dead In Gulmi- Rising Nepal

At least three people died after a landslide buried their house in Gulmi.
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Pakistan
Qureshi says no rush to recognise Taliban govt in Afghanistan: Dawn

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers should understand that if they want recognition and assistance in rebuilding the war-battered country
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Pakistan feels ‘used and binned’, says Ramiz after England cancels tour: Dawn

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja said on Tuesday he felt “used and then binned” after England cancelled a white-ball tour for their men’s and women’s teams next month.
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Pakistan calls for unfreezing of Afghan assets ahead of UN talks: The Express Tribune

Pakistan has called on world powers to unblock billions of dollars in Afghan assets frozen after the Taliban takeover but said it did not expect recognition soon of the new government.
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Afghanistan will descend into civil war without inclusive govt: PM: The Express Tribune

If they [Taliban] don’t include all factions, sooner or later they will have again a sort of a civil war,” the premier said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday.
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NCOC to relax COVID-19 curbs in Punjab, KP districts from September 23: The News

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Tuesday decided to ease additional restrictions in districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after September 23.
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Sri Lanka
President Rajapaksa and Kuwait PM hold bilateral talks in NY – Adaderana

A meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, has taken plane in Manhattan, New York on Sunday (Sep. 19), on the side lines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
has made a request for more employment opportunities for skilled workers.
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IMF has a role in Sri Lanka after framework decided: Jayasundera – economynext

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will “definitely” have a role to play in Sri Lanka’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery, but that will be after the authorities formulate the policy framework, President’s Secretary P B Jayasundera said.
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1,321 persons test positive for COVID-19 – Daily FT

Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 detections rose to 507,330 with the detection of 1,321 COVID-19 positive persons yesterday. Persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday include 1,321 persons from the New Year cluster.
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Sri Lanka, World Bank sign agreement to strengthen climate resilience – Ceylon Today

The Government of Sri Lanka and the World Bank recently signed a US$ 92 million financing agreement for the Climate Resilience Multi-Phased Program Phase I Project.
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VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 21, 2021

Afghanistan
After Recognition We Will Address Rights Issues: Mujahid: Tolo News

Zabihullah Mujahid, deputy minister of the Ministry of Information and Culture of the caretaker cabinet, said on Monday that if the international community recognizes the new government, they will address the concerns over allegations of human rights violations.
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IMF Funds for Afghanistan ‘On Hold,’ Says Spokesman: Tolo News

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced a $650 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation for member countries, but Afghanistan at the moment will not be allowed to access these funds.
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China to provide unconditional aid to Afghanistan by winter: The Khaama Press

Chinese ambassador to Kabul Wang yu said that his country is prepared to continue his country’s unconditional humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.
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ISIS-K claims responsibly for blasts in Nangarhar province: The Khaama Press

The Khurasan branch of Islamic State (ISIS-K) has claimed that they have conducted three blasts on Saturday, September 18 and one the following day in the capital city-Jalalabad- of eastern Nangarhar province.
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Ex-Officials Seek Urgent Attention as Banking Crisis Deepens: Tolo News

As the banking crisis deepens in Afghanistan, some senior officials from the previous administration at a meeting on Monday asked immediate attention by the US government and the Taliban to make sure Afghan reserves are unfrozen as a short-term solution to the current crisis in the country.
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Bangladesh
PM plants tree, unveils bench dedicated to Bangabandhu at UN gardens- Daily Star

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday planted a honey locust tree and unveiled a bench at UN gardens.
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First Phase Up Polls: Three killed as violence rules the day- Daily Star

At least three people were killed and dozens others injured in clashes between supporters of ruling Awami League’s chairman candidates and party rebels.
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Strictly implement Paris accord- Daily Star

Sheikh Hasina has asked global leaders to take stronger steps urgently to address the planetary emergency of climate change.
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Child Marriage: Creeping through the pandemic- Daily Star

Eighty-five girl students out of 345 of Baravita Girls High School in Kurigram’s Phulbari upazila have been married off during the closure of the school amid the pandemic.
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Bangladesh to get vaccines from India as priority- Dhaka Tribune

India is set to resume export under “Vaccine Maitri” in the fourth quarter starting from October.
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Covid-19: Less than 10% fully vaccinated in Bangladesh- Dhaka Tribune

Less than 10% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated despite the frantic efforts of the government.
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Four new sectors to get cash assistance on export- The Daily Observer

The government has taken a decision to provide export incentive or cash assistance to four new sectors for the current fiscal year 2021-22.
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Bangladesh health department driver jailed for 30 years- New Age

The Dhaka Special Tribunal-4 on Monday jailed Abdul Malek, a driver at the Directorate General of Health Service, for 30 years in a case of possessing an illegal firearm and ammunitions.
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3 killed as violence, rigging mark Bangladesh local body polls- New Age

At least three people were killed and several dozens injured in violence over the first phase of union parishad elections held on Monday.
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Saudi Arabia keen to invest more in Bangladesh- The Independent

Noting that Bangladesh has an investment-friendly climate, the Saudi investment minister said there is a potential for more Saudi investment in Bangladesh.
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Bhutan
MoE seeks urgent strategised interventions to improve students’ performance- Kuensel

Around 46 percent of Class IV-XII students scored lower than 40 percent on the 2021 midterm examinations, according to the Ministry of Education’s consolidated midterm examination report.
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The importance of agriculture- Kuensel

Agriculture development in the country must take a new turn. Otherwise, we would be talking about the same problems 100 years from now.
https://kuenselonline.com/the-importance-of-agriculture/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…

Potato exporters worry as their trucks stopped at border- Kuensel

Customs officials in India stopped trucks carrying potatoes from Bhutan without a plant quarantine certificate (PQC), which has affected business for potato exporters and bidders in Samdrupjongkhar.
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Maintaining small, compact and efficient Civil Service still a challenge- BBS

As per the commission’s Annual Report 2020 – 2021, this time, the increase in the number of civil servants is due to the increased demand in the education and health sectors.
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HH awards Toedtse Jim to Khenpo Karma Loday- BBS

The special award is an honorary appreciation for 59-year-old Khenpo Karma Loday’s unwavering service for the benefit of all sentient beings. He is from Toepaisa in Punakha.
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Maldives
Three pilots trained by India for MNDF – Edition

Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir said India have been training pilots for helicopters and the Dornier aircrafts gifted to Maldives. Three pilots have returned to Maldives after completing their training, according to the high commissioner.
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UNGA President hosts special dinner for President Solih upon arrival to attend 76th UNGA session – Raajje

President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid has hosted a special dinner in honor of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who is currently in the states to attend the 76th UNGA session.
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Myanmar
Myanmar’s Suu Kyi Denies False Reports That She Opposes Armed Resistance to Junta – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has denied false reports that she didn’t accept armed resistance against the military regime.
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Agreement Moves Myanmar’s Kyaukphyu Port Project a Step Forward – The Irrawaddy

An agreement to conduct preliminary field investigation work for the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Deep Sea Port Project has been signed.
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Rohingya Armed Groups Active Again in Western Myanmar – The Irrawaddy

Long before the junta’s February 1 coup, the Rohingya crisis was making headlines in the international media.
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Nepal
Govt told not to arrest anyone for negative remarks- Himalaya

The Supreme Court today issued a stay order against the government asking it not to arrest anyone for making negative statements.
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India to resume export of COVID-19 vaccines under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme from October-December- Himalaya

India is all set to resume the export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ program.
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‘Opposition must play responsible role in Parliament- Himalaya

The government has urged the opposition to play a responsible role in running the federal Parliament.
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Deuba’s plan for Cabinet expansion constrained by coalition partners- Kathmandu Post

Janata Samajbadi Party wants ordinance to ease party splits withdrawn while CPN (Unified Socialist) wants the prime minister to wait until court order on Oli’s petition/
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Government allocates record Rs15 billion to ensure fertiliser- Kathmandu Post

The government has set aside a record Rs15 billion for its fertiliser subsidy programme this year, fearing steep price rises in the world market may result in shortages.
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Mahalaya in Nepal: Why Hindus remember their forefathers before the festive season- OnlineKhabar

The offerings made to the priest during the ceremony is believed to reach the three generations caught in pitri lok.
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Budhigandaki hydropower project delay incurs a loss of billions: BRB- OnlineKhabar

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai joins a protest programme demanding the early launch of the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, in Kathmandu, on Monday, September 20, 2021.
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Energy Roadmap Launched for Achieving SDG-7- Rising Nepal

Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal formally launched the roadmap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-7) on Monday.
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Supreme Court hearing writ against 14 lawmakers today- KhabarHub

A hearing of the writ petition filed at the Supreme Court (SC) demanding to revoke the membership of 14 UML lawmakers will be conducted today.
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लोकतन्त्रविरोधी अध्यादेश खारेजी नभएसम्म सरकारले पूर्णता पाउँदैन : उपेन्द्र यादव
(Government will not be complete until anti-democracy ordinance is repealed: Upendra Yadav)- Nepal News

Yadav said that the Council of Ministers would not be complete until the ordinance weakening democracy and political parties was repealed.
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Pakistan
Pakistan satisfied with security assurances by Afghan Taliban: ISPR: Dawn

Pakistan is maintaining a regular engagement with the Afghan Taliban for safeguarding the country’s security interests, said military spokesman Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar on Monday.
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Pakistan GDP to grow at 4.2pc: Fitch: Dawn

With some subdued downward risks, Fitch Ratings on Monday forecast Pakistan’s economic growth at 4.2 per cent — against the government’s target of 4.8pc.
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Govt refuses to reveal details of foreign gifts given to PM Imran: The Express Tribune

The federal government has refused to make public details of gifts given to Prime Minister Imran Khan by foreign heads of states, saying the disclosure can damage country’s national interest and its relations with other states.
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Saudi Arabia offers to play role in easing Pakistan-India tension: The Express Tribune

Saudi Foreign Minister Amir Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who is on his maiden visit to India, has said that Saudi Arabia could play a role in easing tensions between archrivals Pakistan and India.
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Security concerns: ECB also pulls out of October twin series: The News

England cricket chiefs on Monday withdrew their men’s and women’s teams from next month’s white-ball series in Pakistan citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”.
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‘Contact with Taliban in national interest’: The News

Pakistan is confident that the Taliban will fulfil their commitment of not allowing any terrorist organisation to use the Afghan soil against any country including Pakistan.
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Sri Lanka
Lanka, Turkish FMs powwow in NY- The Island

Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris has expressed condolences on the death of two Turkish nationals as a result of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks when he met the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu at the Turkish House.
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‘War crimes’: Lanka rejects fresh probe- The Island

Sri Lanka yesterday (14) rejected the UNHCR proposal to initiate a fresh inquiry into accountability issues.
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Vaccination centres drying up as youngsters refuse vaccines- Daily Mirror

Health authorities yesterday raised serious concerns over the lack of interest among the 20 to 29 age group to get themselves vaccinated against COVID19 with many having fears that it may lead to infertility while some preferred unproven natural remedies.
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Jayantha Ketagoda to be sworn in today- Daily Mirror

Jayantha Ketagoda who is expected to fill the National List MP slot created after the resignation of former State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal is to be sworn in today, Serjeant-at-arms Narendra Fernando said yesterday.
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