Tag Archives: Pakistan

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 29, 2022

Afghanistan
Potzel Expects Further ‘Fragmentation’ if Needs of Afghans Not Met: Tolo News

Speaking to the UN Security Council session on the Afghanistan situation, the deputy head of UNAMA, Markus Potzel, said that if the Islamic Emirate does not respond to the needs of all elements of Afghan society and constructively engage within the very limited window of opportunity with the international community, “it is unclear what would come next.” Click here to read…

Taliban and Russia Agree to ‘Special Discount’ on Purchase of Gas, Oil, and Wheat: The Khaama Press

The Taliban Ministry of Commerce and Industry stated that an agreement was inked to purchase and import wheat, gas, and oil from Russia to Afghanistan. According to Abdul Salam Jawad Akhundzada, a spokesman for the Taliban Ministry of Commerce and Industry, products including gasoline, diesel, gas, and wheat will be purchased at a “special discount” in Russian currency. Click here to read…

Afghan Envoy at UNSC: ‘Systematic’ Exclusion of Women Under Taliban: The Khaama Press

Speaking at the UN Security Council convened to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Afghan Permanent Mission to the UN, said that Afghan women are denied their fundamental freedoms and rights in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
PM Hasina in Washington: Election Commission is free to hold fair polls: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the Election Commission in Bangladesh is completely free and independent, and a system has been established through an independent EC to hold free and fair elections in the country. Click here to read…

Cabinet approves India-Bangladesh MoU on withdrawal of water from Kushiyara river: The Print

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on withdrawal of upto 153 cusecs of water each from common border river Kushiyara, a government press release read. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Govt allows import of 17,000 ton/yr green areca nut without MIP condition from Bhutan – Economic Times

The government on Wednesday allowed the import of 17,000 tonnes of green areca nut without minimum import price (MIP) condition from Bhutan every year. In 2017, the government imposed MIP at Rs 251 per kg with an aim to safeguard domestic farmers. In 2018, the imports of areca nut in any form were allowed if the price is over Rs 251 per kilogram. Click here to read…

Maldives
Japan-Maldives Foreign Ministers’ Meeting -Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

On September 28, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, who is visiting Japan to attend the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe as Special Envoy of President of the Maldives. The two ministers concurred that Japan and the Maldives, as countries which share the fundamantal values such as the rule of law and the freedom of navigation, will cooperate even more closely to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Click here to read…

Myanmar
In Myanmar, the Tatmadaw’s Frustration Fuels a Cycle of Violence – Foreign Policy

Officials from the United States and Malaysia met on the sidelines with representatives from Myanmar’s National Unity Government, a cabinet formed by elected lawmakers ousted when the military seized power in February 2021. As diplomacy sputters, violence in Myanmar is spiraling. At least 11 children were killed on Sept. 16 when military helicopters fired on a school in Sagaing region, a resistance stronghold. The killing of students was shocking, but extreme violence has come to characterize the junta. Last month, the military allegedly rampaged through a village in Kachin State, burning down homes and killing civilians. These attacks followed a trend: The monitoring group Data for Myanmar said the military has torched more than 28,000 civilian homes since the coup, and August was the worst month on record. Click here to read…

Chinese envoy, acting FS discuss early Rohingyas repatriation, border incidents – TBS News

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has met acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam and discussed the ways for early repatriation of the Rohingyas and the recent incidents along Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Talking to a small group of reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the meeting on Monday, Ambassador Li said they discussed a lot of issues including “early repatriation” of the Rohingya people and cooperation in other areas between the two countries. There is a tripartite mechanism among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China to discuss and find ways to resolve the Rohingya issue. Click here to read…

Over 6,000 Myanmar children enrolled in Mizoram schools – Eat Mojo

More than 6,000 children of Myanmar nationality taking refuge in Mizoram are currently enrolled in various schools across the state, an official said on Wednesday. State school education department director Dr H. Lalthlangliana said a majority of the Myanmar children are studying in government schools, while several are also enrolled in private schools. Click here to read…

The meteoric fall of the Myanmar military junta – Global Village Space

The military junta in Myanmar, which took control in February 2021 after overthrowing the elected government, appears to be in serious peril. They disapproved of the outcomes of the national election that took place in 2020 and was organized under their direction. They rewrote Myanmar’s history, in actuality. When the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi, took office in 2011, they began a limited process of democratization long after their direct military dominance in the nation. Click here to read…

Nepal
Backing India’s bid for permanent membership, Nepal calls for UN Security Council reforms – Economic Times

Backing India’s long-standing demand, Nepal has called for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, making it more representative, inclusive, and transparent. Addressing the general debate of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Nepal’s foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal said, ‘Nepal supports UN reform initiatives, including revitalising the General Assembly and reforming the Security Council, to make it more representative, inclusive, and transparent.’ Click here to read…

Pakistan
Bilawal wants Taliban rulers to use their influence on TTP for peace: Dawn

Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, the foreign minister also urged the United States to take lead in dealing with the devastating effects of the changing climate, which he called a ‘man-made disaster’Click here to read…

Dar favours currency market intervention: The Express Tribune

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday that some changes would be made in the central bank law at “an appropriate time”, advocating intervention in the currency market that signalled a needed shift in the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed policies. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
RW, Modi discuss Sri Lanka’s economic crisis in Tokyo: Daily Mirror

President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring when the two held informal discussions in Tokyo last evening, on the sidelines of the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Click here to read…

Colombo port set to lose out from new direct container shipping service between Chattogram and Dubai: Daily Mirror

A direct container shipping service is to be launched between Chattogram, Bangladesh and Dubai avoiding the Colombo Port, a Bangladeshi media report said. Imports from Dubai now come to Chattogram via Sri Lanka’s Colombo port. The consignments are unloaded from the mother vessel and then loaded into smaller feeder vessels in Colombo. Export consignments are also sent to Dubai via Colombo. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 28, 2022

<h5>Afghanistan </h5>

<h5>Islamic Emirate Signs Deal for Russian Oil Products, Gas and Wheat – Tolo News </h5>

The Islamic Emirate has signed a provisional deal with Russia to supply gasoline, diesel, gas and wheat to Afghanistan, Acting Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters. Azizi said his ministry was working to diversify its trading partners and that Russia had offered the Islamic Emirate administration a discount to average global commodity prices. The move, the first known major international economic deal struck by the Islamic Emirate since they returned to power more than a year ago, could help to ease the Islamist movement’s isolation that has effectively cut it off from the global banking system. <a href=”https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-180048” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>UN issues warning on warfare and increase poverty in Afghanistan – The Both Side News </h5>

The Taliban’s attack on the rights of girls and women, according to a senior U.N. official, demonstrates disregard for more than 50% of Afghanistan’s population and a willingness to risk international isolation, as well as a potential internal conflict and deepening poverty in the country. Some of the Taliban’s “claimed and recognised achievements,” Markus Potzel, the U.N. deputy representative for Afghanistan, told the Security Council, are also deteriorating. <a href=”https://thebothsidenews.com/un-issues-warning-on-warfare-and-increased-poverty-in-afghanistan/world/09/28/2022/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Bangladesh</h5>

<h5>Bangladesh wants to mark March 25 as International Genocide Day – The Print </h5>

Describing the horrors of the 1971 genocide by the Pakistani military, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that Bangladesh is working to get recognition of March 25 as International Genocide Day by all the countries in the world. “The Genocide of Bangladesh committed in 1971 by the Pakistani military is one of the most heinous crimes in human history … we do not know of another instance of such barbarism of such intensity and mayhem,” he said, reported The Daily Star. <a href=”https://theprint.in/world/bangladesh-wants-to-mark-march-25-as-international-genocide-day/1144656/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Bangladesh aims for yuan trade as cushion against mighty dollar- Nikkei Asia </h5>

Hit by a strong dollar and fearful of shrinking foreign reserves, Bangladesh is turning to alternative currency arrangements including the use of the Chinese yuan in international transactions. Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, in mid-September said that authorized dealer banks (ADs) can carry out transactions in yuan for trade with China. <a href=”https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Bangladesh-aims-for-yuan-trade-as-cushion-against-mighty-dollar

 

<h5>Bhutan </h5>

<h5>BoB imposed Nu 6.2M for system failure – Kuensel Online </h5>

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) has imposed Nu 6.2 million (M) on Bank of Bhutan (BoB) for the system failure for about three days earlier this month. An official from the bank said that the bank is still negotiating the penalty amount with the authority. The bank’s both offline and online banking services could not be accessed because of the system failure. <a href=”https://kuenselonline.com/bob-imposed-nu-6-2m-for-system-failure/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Maldives </h5>

<h5>India Supports Hanimaadhoo Airport Project In Maldives – The WatchDog </h5>

After the contract for the largest infrastructure project to be undertaken outside the Greater Male’ region in the history of Maldives was signed, the High Commission of India in the Maldives on September 26 stated that it supports the nation in the project. The aim of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Development Project is to transform the economic image of the North Maldives. An Indian company named JMC Projects Limited has signed the pact with the Maldives government to develop the Hanimaadhoo International Airport. <a href=”https://thewatchdog.news/national-e/india-supports-hanimaadhoo-airport-project-in-maldives/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Myanmar </h5>

<h5>The Two Hands of Washingtons Myanmar Policy – The Irrawaddy </h5>

Bilateral relations from the perspective of the Department of State are well-described by Murphy, the occupant of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Burma desk from 2007-12. As she relates this, US policy is about democracy, humanitarianism and free-market values that both nations share. And citizens pass on information in exchange for cash and vague promises of a US visa should things become difficult. <a href=”https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/the-two-hands-of-washingtons-myanmar-policy.html” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Intensifying pressure on Myanmar military – New Age BD </h5>

NOLEEN Heyzer, the special envoy of the UN secretary general, claimed that she would not return to Myanmar unless she could meet with former leader Aung San Suu Kyi during her brief visit there for discussions with the military leadership. According to Reuters, Suu Kyi has been detained since the February 1 coup last year and has been kept in solitary confinement since June. She has not been permitted visitors, and in August, a military spokesperson declared that the dictatorship would not permit anyone to meet with those who were charged with crimes. Suu Kyi is currently on trial for charges ranging from corruption to the disclosure of state secrets. The total maximum sentence for the crimes she is charged with is more than 190 years. <a href=”https://www.newagebd.net/article/182228/intensifying-pressure-on-myanmar-military” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Myanmar-Thailand border point where 150 Indian techies are trapped in control of rebel group – New Indian Express </h5>

The software engineers, mostly from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, were entrapped in a job racket that four companies, primarily managed by some Dubai-based Chinese nationals, ran The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a heavily-armed Myanmar rebel group fighting the military junta in that country, is suspected to be providing “protection” to an organised Malayasian-Chinese gang which continues to hold at least 150 Indian IT professionals trapped at a location on the Myanmar-Thailand border. <a href=”https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2022/sep/27/myanmar-thailand-border-point-where-150-indian-techies-are-trapped-in-control-of-rebel-group-2502492.html” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Nepal </h5>

<h5>Energising India-Nepal ties, the hydropower way – The Hindu</h5>

Nepal’s move to involve India in completing the West Seti and Seti River (SR6) joint storage project has the potential to enhance much-needed cross-border power exchanges. On August 18, 2022, the Investment Board Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India’s National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Limited to develop the West Seti and Seti River (SR6) projects — a total of 1,200 MW. <a href=”https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/energising-india-nepal-ties-the-hydropower-way/article65943114.ece?homepage=true” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Nepal President Blocks Citizenship Law – Human Rights Watch </h5>

Nepal’s ceremonial president, Bidiya Bhandari, has refused to endorse a Citizenship Bill passed by parliament, denying an estimated 500,000 people access to citizenship documents and threatening to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. A deadline for her to sign the law expired last week. <a href=”https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/26/nepal-president-blocks-citizenship-law” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Pakistan </h5>

<h5>Pakistans Vicious IMF Cycle – The Diplomat </h5>

On August 29, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the last remaining $1.1 billion in funds for Pakistan, following a combined seventh and eighth review of the extended fund facility provided to the country. The $6 billion bailout agreed upon in 2019 conditioned the IMF loan to market-determined exchange rate and rebuilding of official reserves in order to reduce public debt, ensure fiscal growth, and increase the country’s per capita income. The fund facility, extended until June 2023, is the 23rd IMF program that Pakistan has received in its 75-year existence. <a href=”https://thediplomat.com/2022/09/pakistans-vicious-imf-cycle/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>After Jaishankar swipe at US over Pakistan F-16s, Antony Blinken says only to fight terror – Indian Express </h5>

Antony Blinken said it was a programme for F-16s that Pakistan already had, and it was Washington’s “obligation” to provide military equipment to ensure that the aircraft are maintained and sustained to bolster Islamabad’s capability to deal with “clear terrorist threats” from Al Qaeda and ISIS. A day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the US decision to provide a $450-million sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet was “not fooling anybody”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it is not a new programme. <a href=”https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-jaishankar-swipe-at-us-over-pak-f-16s-blinken-says-only-to-fight-terror-8176851/” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>Sri Lanka </h5>

<h5>Asia’s ticking debt bomb: Sri Lanka crisis sounds alarm bells across region – Asia Nikkei </h5>

Every day after 4 p.m., residents in this quiet, leafy village listen for the putt-putting of motorbikes on the sandy road next to their homes. When they hear it, they know to shut their doors and turn off their lights. Their children are instructed to run inside and not let anyone in. A motorbike is the vehicle of choice for local debt collectors, who fan out through places like Chandana Pokuna, some 500 brick-faced, rundown houses in Sri Lanka’s rice-farming north central district of Polonnaruwa. The motorcycle men, agents of microlending companies, start work in the late afternoon, when they know residents will be at home. <a href=”https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/Asia-s-ticking-debt-bomb-Sri-Lanka-crisis-sounds-alarm-bells-across-region” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

 

<h5>High-security zones in Sri Lanka to ensure stability – Tribune India </h5>

The Sri Lankan Government on Monday defended its decision to declare several key locations in Colombo as high-security zones, saying the move was aimed at ensuring stability and not curbing freedom of expression. President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday declared several locations, including Parliament, the Supreme Court complex and the President’s Secretariat among others, as high-security zones (HSZs), banning any kind of protest or agitation in their vicinity. <a href=”https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/high-security-zones-in-lanka-to-ensure-stability-435805” target=”_blank”>Click here to read…</a>

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 23, 2022

Afghanistan
Cargo Leaves China For Afghanistan On New Route Bypassing Russia – Oil Price

China has dispatched a first load of freight to Afghanistan on a new road and rail route transiting Central Asia which will cut travel time by several weeks.The multimodal route starts in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province then passes through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan before entering Afghanistan. Click here to read…

21 years after 9/11, where does Afghanistan stand today – Economic Times

On May 2, 2011, the U.S. Special Forces killed Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in operation Neptune Spear. The fact that Bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan exposed Islamabad’s failure to track down, or failure to reveal the hideout of America’s most wanted terrorist. The U.S. led NATO forces left Kabul in 2021, but the war against terror continues in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
Bangladesh, Cambodia to sign FTA for boosting trade cooperation – New Age BD

During a bilateral meeting between Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and her Cambodian counterpart Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen in New York on Thursday night, they agreed to do it, said foreign minister AK Abdul Momen while briefing reporters about the activities of the PM on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Click here to read…

Traders worried as India top bank suspends dollar transaction with Bangladesh – TBS News

The public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI), which has been operating for four decades in Dhaka, has suspended export-import transactions in dollars with Bangladesh, raising concern among the business community of both countries as India is the second highest import source for Bangladesh. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Bhutan Reopens with New Sustainable Tourism Strategy – Travel Pulse

The Kingdom of Bhutan officially reopens to international travelers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic today, September 22, unveiling a new tourism strategy focusing on sustainable development, infrastructure upgrades and more. Click here to read…vv

Maldives
Maldives is proud to have demonstrated leadership at the UN General Assembly: FM Shahid – Raajje

Maldives is proud to have demonstrated leadership at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), says Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid. FM Shahid said this in a message on the 57th Anniversary of the Maldives Membership at the UN, extended on Thursday. As such, FM Shahid highlighted on the fact that Maldives joined the UN at a time a small state joining the UN was questioned, 57 years ago. Click here to read…

Myanmar
US seeks action, possible UN resolution, on Myanmar junta – Channel News

The United States is seeking more pressure on Myanmar’s junta through the United Nations (UN) and is urging the international community not to recognize upcoming elections, a senior official said Thursday. Click here to read…

Mizoram chief minister meets Shah, discusses influx of refugees from Myanmar – Hindustan Times

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Thursday met Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi to discuss the influx of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar. In an Instagram post, Zoramthanga said Shah took stock of the situation at the meeting. Click here to read…

Tatmadaw, ARSA, Arakan army, Yaba economy – News Age BD

BANGLADESH is in a spot as far as Myanmar is concerned. Not that Myanmar is doing much better having to fight just about every ethnic group in the country. Given the truncated reality of its cartography, Myanmar probably does not qualify as a state, certainly not as a single unit or even a federation. A half of the map is under rebel control. Click here to read…

Nepal
Nepal’s NDC on climate change – Kathmandu Post

The last three decades of the international climate regime have shown positive accomplishments. The establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the goals of mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, the Kyoto Protocol with legally binding emissions targets for developed countries, the Paris Agreement with a temperature threshold of 2 degrees Celsius (and pursue best efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius), and establishment of the net-zero target are three key milestones of past 30 years of climate change negotiation. Click here to read…

Two Nepal projects selected under China’s GDI – Kathmandu Post

At a time when not a single project under the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiatives has commenced in Nepal, two projects from Nepal have been selected under China’s another initiative called, the Global Development Initiative. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Death toll in devastating Pakistan flooding reaches 1,596

The overall death toll in Pakistan from the devastating floods has increased to 1,596, with 12,863 others injured, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said. In the last 24 hours, 20 new fatalities were reported, reports Xinhua news agency citing the NDMA as saying. Click here to read…

China blocks action against Pakistan-based terrorist in ‘favour’ to close ally – Siasat

China has again blocked action in UN Sanctions Committee against Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader and 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Sajid Mir, drawing strong criticism from India. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Foreign ambassadors assure support to recover Sri Lanka from the economic crisis – Colombo Page

The foreign ambassadors to Sri Lanka have assured President Ranil Wickremesinghe their support to get the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to recover the island nation from the worst economic crisis in its history. Click here to read…

New resolution on Sri Lanka tabled in Geneva – Colombo Gazette

The draft resolution, which was formally handed over to the Human Rights Council Secretariat on Wednesday, has been sponsored by the UK, US, Germany, Canada, Malawi, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 22, 2022

Afghanistan
Qatar Calls on ‘All Parties’ to ‘Preserve’ Doha Peace Deal: Al Thani: Tolo News

Speaking at the UN General Assembly Annual Meeting, the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called on “all parties to preserve and build on the Doha Peace Agreement achievements, namely, preventing Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists and radical individuals and groups.” Click here to read…

Taliban Distributes Aid to Families in Central Afghanistan: The Khaama Press

The Taliban distributed food assistance to over 1,600 needy families in Ghor province, in central Afghanistan, the Taliban-controlled Bakhtar state news agency reported. According to the report, the Taliban government’s State Ministry for Disaster Management distributed aid to 1,609 impoverished families in Ghor province who were affected by the recent natural disasters. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
PM Hasina invites Biden to visit Bangladesh: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited US President Joe Biden to visit Bangladesh during a reception hosted by the US President on Wednesday.
The US president, along with his wife hosted the event at the American Museum of Natural History in honour of the heads of state and heads of the government who came in New York to attend the 77th UN General Assembly. Click here to read…

PM Hasina to give prize money to Saff champions upon return: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will give prize money to all the players of the Bangladesh Women Football Team after returning home from United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Click here to read…

Bhutan
EU, Bhutan launch sustainable agriculture food systems programme – Kuensel Online

The European Union provided Euro 15 million to Bhutan for agricultural development in Thimphu on September 20. Finance Minister Namgay Tshering and the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bhutan and India, Ugo Astuto launched the programme to promote inclusive, sustainable and resilient agricultural food systems in the presence of Minister of Agriculture and Forests Yeshey Penjor, and Members of the EU Parliament. Click here to read…

Bhutanese products gain access to international markets -Kuensel Online

The Bhutanese traditional products by artisans and farmers, gained access to international markets with the support of the European Union (EU)-Bhutan Trade Support Project. Four years after launching the project in May 2018, it came to an end on September 19 with a display of businesses supported by the project. The project has helped link 1,400 artisans, farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in horticulture and textile handicraft sectors to 11 export markets. Click here to read…

Maldives
ADB approves $10 M to strengthen COVID-19 vaccination in Maldives – BioSpectrum India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $10 million grant under its Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility to help Maldives upgrade storage facilities and strengthen the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to read…

Saudi Arabia, Maldives sign political consultations agreement – Saudi Gazette

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid on Tuesday for political consultations. The MoU for political consultations between both countries aim at strengthening relations of cooperation and friendship and reaching broader horizons to serve the aspirations of the governments and peoples of the two countries. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Myanmar Junta Arms Dealer Arrested in Bangkok on Drugs, Money Laundering Charges – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar national Dr Tun Min Latt, 53, was arrested along with three Thai nationals in Bangkok last week. They face narcotics and money laundering charges. Over 200 million baht (US$5.4 million) worth of drugs and other items were confiscated from them, the Thai police said. Click here to read…

Myanmar spiralling ‘from bad to worse, to horrific’, Human Rights Council hears – UN News

“With each report I have warned that unless UN Member States change course in the way they collectively respond to this crisis, the people of Myanmar will suffer even further,” he told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that conditions have “gone from bad to worse, to horrific for untold numbers of innocent people in Myanmar”. Click here to read…

Economic Meltdown Highlights Success of NLD’s Policies – The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s economic troubles caused by Covid have deepened intensely since last year’s coup. The economy has contracted by 18 percent since February 2021 and it is projected to grow 3 percent in the fiscal year ending this month, according to the World Bank. The kyat slumped by 60 percent against the US dollar this year. Click here to read…

Nepal
Asian Development Bank cuts Nepal’s economic growth forecast – Kathmandu Post

The Asian Development Bank has downgraded Nepal’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year as the economy takes a beating from high inflation, slowed trade and monetary tightening.The Manila-based bank says Nepal’s economy is estimated to expand by 4.7 percent in the fiscal year 2022-23, down from an estimated 5.8 percent in the last fiscal year. Click here to read…

Japan helping Nepal rehabilitate oldest irrigation system with Rs 2 bln grant – Online Khabhar

Japan has committed to helping Nepal rehabilitate its oldest irrigation system with the grant support of Rs two billion. Officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nepal and the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday signed an agreement in this regard, in Kathmandu on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Biden urges world to help ‘underwater’ Pakistan: Dawn

As Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the international community on Wednesday to stay engaged with Islamabad as it struggles to recover from the devastating effects of this season’s unprecedent floods, US President Joe Biden made a fervent appeal to the world to help Pakistan deal with the devastation of the recent floods in his speech to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Click here to read…

Current account deficit narrows to $0.7bn: Dawn

Pakistan’s current account deficit (CAD) fell to $0.7 billion in August, compared to $1.2bn in the previous month, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said late on Wednesday night. This equates to a decline of 41.67 per cent month-on-month. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Petroleum Products Bill inconsistent with Constitution: SC informs Speaker:,Daily Mirror

The Supreme Court informed speaker that Petroleum Products Special Provisions Amendment Bill is inconsistent as a whole with the article 12(1) of the Constitution, Speaker announced a shortwhile ago. Click here to read…

National inflation breaches 70% in August: Daily Mirror

The national index of consumer prices for August notched above 70 percent, as the sharp electricity tariff revision, which came into effect from the start of the month, hit the consumer wallets hard on top of the soaring food prices. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 21, 2022

Afghanistan
UN Chief Calls on Afghan Authorities to Open Girls’ School: Tolo News

UN Sec. Gen. Antonio Guterres at the Transforming Global Education summit hosted by the United Nations, called on the Taliban to lift all restrictions on girls’ access to education immediately. Click here to read…

Peaceful Afghanistan, ‘Priority’ for Pakistan, Says Pakistani Foreign Minister: The Khaama Press

Pakistani Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan is a “priority” for Pakistan while meeting the US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, in New York. Click here to read…

US Seeks to Exchange Afghan Aircraft for Assistance in Countering Terrorism: The Khaama Press

As the Afghan government crumbled last year, the US began talks with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to exchange roughly 50 military aircraft that had been moved across the border in exchange for assistance in countering terrorists in Afghanistan. The US wants to trade US-donated Afghan aircraft for Central Asian countries’ support in battling terrorism in Afghanistan, according to reports in the international media citing sources with knowledge of the negotiations. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
PM Hasina: Bangladesh will raise children as global citizens: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government is going to introduce a fresh national curriculum from next year aimed at raising Bangladeshi children as global citizens to make them befit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Click here to read…

Rohingyas form human chain to protest violence at border: Dhaka Tribune

Several Rohingyas in Bangladesh on Tuesday formed a human chain in the Tumbru no-man’s land protesting violence along the country’s border with Myanmar. They said they were passing their days in fear of further escalation of violence. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Traders and tourism stakeholders on familiarisation trip to Bhutan – Telegraph India

Tra¬ders and tourism stakeholders at Jaigaon — the town in Ali¬purduar district — on Tuesd-ay entered Phuentsholing, wh¬ich is located just across the border in Bhutan, after a gap of two-and-a-half years for a familiarisation trip. Click here to read…

UN Peace Day: Bhutanese to rally in front of UNGA demanding human rights of Bhutanese refugees – DND

The Bhutanese activists hope to use the global significance of the UN General Assembly taking place to draw attention to their cause and call on the “moral conscience of the world leaders,” to mediate and bring Bhutan “to an open and honest dialogue in order to find a mutually agreeable solution.” Click here to read…

Maldives
Maldives-Middle East Connections – MEI@75

While there have been academic studies on some its neighbors’ relations with countries in the Middle East, such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka by this author and others, there has been nothing of that nature regarding the Maldives, most likely because of the paucity of available published sources on contemporary Maldivian affairs and the fact that many small states are not given much attention by academics. Click here to read…

Maldives hopes for first U.S. embassy late this year or early next – Reuters

The Maldives hopes to see the United States open a first embassy in the country at the end of the year, or early next, and the Indian Ocean state hopes to reopen its embassy in Washington by the end of this year, the Maldivian foreign minister said on Sunday. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Amid Myanmar’s Civil War, Unity Emerges – Christianity Today

Christian NGO Free Burma Rangers (FBR), which has trained 6,000 ethnic minorities as first responders in the past two decades, has observed this growing unity up close. Increasingly, young Bamar people from cities like Yangon and Mandalay have left their college studies and careers to help the growing popular resistance. Click here to read…

Japan to Abandon Controversial Training Program for Myanmar Cadets – The Diplomat

Yesterday, Japan’s government announced that it will suspend the military training of Myanmar military officers from next year, after weathering a storm of criticism for its continued links to the Tatmadaw. Click here to read…

Myanmar eyes Chinese yuan, Russian rouble to replace US dollar that’s being used ‘to bully smaller nations’ – SCMP

Myanmar wants to broaden its use of Chinese and Russian currencies and lessen its dependence on the dollar, which a spokesman for the ruling junta said some countries are using “to bully smaller nations”. Click here to read…

Nepal
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari refuses to ratify Citizenship Bill, invites constitutional crisis – Times of India

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari denied authenticating the citizenship bill despite the constitutionally bounded provision to ratify it within 15 days after it has been reproved by the two houses. Click here to read…

What should Nepal’s position on UN reform be – Kathmandu Post

The 77th General Assembly of the United Nations formally started on Tuesday. While the world will be paying attention to what world leaders, including heads of states, heads of governments and top diplomats, will say at the first world conference after the Russia-Ukraine war, the subject of UN reform will also take precedence. The subject is one of the 178 agenda items that will be discussed in the Assembly taking place in New York. Click here to read…

Pakistan
World leaders join Pakistan for SOS on flood and debt: Dawn

“Pakistan is drowning, not only in floodwater but in debt” too, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the international community on Tuesday to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis. Click here to read…

France to help Pakistan ‘revive’ economy: The Express Tribune

The decisions were announced through a joint statement after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Click here to read…

‘Big and bold’ decisions inevitable to lift country out of crises: Imran: The Express Tribune

“We have to take those steps that have not been taken ever due to public pressure and other reasons… in parliamentary democracy, coalition governments are very weak,” he said in an interactive session with interactive Zoom session with digital broadcasters and economic analysts on Tuesday. Click here to read…

‘Enforced disappearances violation of Constitution’: The News

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said that only Imran Khan knows who is Mr X and Y, adding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman should have courage and name them. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
SL’s fuel prices still lowest among non-oil producing countries: Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka raised its fuel price at the pump to at least thrice the level it was, in a matter of months as it became impossible to continue to subsidise the prices following the Russia-Ukraine war sending global energy prices soaring, bringing the Sri Lankan economy crashing down after exhausting its foreign currency reserves. Click here to read…

Invites them to invest in Sri Lanka: Daily Mirror

President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is currently in the United Kingdom invited the Sri Lankans living there to join the new investment opportunities created in Sri Lanka, President’s Media Division said. The visiting President made this remarks when he met with the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Britain on Monday. Many Sri Lankan businessmen, investors and professionals living in Britain attended the meeting organised by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Britain. Click here to read…

China keeps Pakistan, Sri Lanka waiting on loan deals: Hindu

China has offered Pakistan’s visiting Army Chief technical help as the country deals with record floods, but did not announce any substantial financial assistance which its “all-weather” ally has been seeking. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 20, 2022

Afghanistan
Bashir Noorzai Released by US in Exchange for Mark Frerichs: Muttaqi: Tolo News

Haji Bashir Noorzai, a senior member of the Taliban, arrived in Kabul today after being released from detention by the US, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate said on Twitter. Speaking at a gathering held to announce the release of Bashir Noorzai, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that Noorzai was released in exchange for American citizen Mark Frerichs. Click here to read…

Calls Mount to Reopen Girls’ Schools Above Grade 6: Tolo News

The former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, expressed criticism over the closure of girls’ schools above grade six for over a year. “In the 21st century, Afghanistan is the ONLY country in the world where girls above grade six are banned from going to school,” he said. “A full year has gone by where girls have been deprived of their dreams and future. All of us are not only responsible but should be ashamed!” Click here to read…

Taliban Conducts Nighttime Door-to-Door Search: The Khaama Press

Local sources in the central and southern Afghan provinces of Parwan and Kandahar, respectively, have said that the Taliban has begun carrying out sweeping door-to-door searches. In the Kolami area of the Salang district of Parwan province, the Taliban are said to have first arrested men and searched homes while breaking in, according to sources in Parwan. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
President Murmu meets Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, sister ahead of Queen’s funeral: Mint

As world leaders gather to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch of British history, President of India Droupadi Murmu took to Twitter to post a picture where she met with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and her sister, Sheikh Rehana. Click here to read…

PM Hasina in New York to attend UNGA: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New York, USA to attend the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). A VVIP chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the prime minister and her entourage landed at JFK International Airport here at about 10:25pm (New York time). Click here to read…

Bhutan
Climate change is a major threat for Bhutan: Kanni Wignaraja – Kuensel Online

The UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja, said that climate change is a major threat facing Bhutan as global warming increases the risk of glacial lake outburst floods. Click here to read…

King and Queen of Bhutan dubbed the ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton of the Himalayas’ paid their respects to Her Majesty and joined world leaders for the ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace – Daily Mail

The King and Queen of Bhutan last night paid tribute to the Queen while she was lying-in-state at Westminster Hall. King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun Pema, dubbed the ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton of the Himalayas’, made the journey to London ahead of the state funeral todayClick here to read…

Maldives
How The Maldives Is Fighting The Climate Crisis With Coral Reefs – Plant based News

The result of this is that, by 2050, 80 percent of its islands could become uninhabitable at current global warming rates. Despite only being responsible for around 0.003 percent of global emissions, the island is set to be adversely affected by the climate crisis. Currently, more than 90 percent of the islands in the Maldives have severe erosion, and 97 percent of the country no longer has fresh groundwater (the water found beneath the Earth’s surface). Click here to read…

Myanmar
Lured by IT jobs in Thailand, over 300 Indians held hostage in Myanmar, forced to do cybercrime activities; also given ‘electric shocks’ – Times Now News

In a disturbing news, it is alleged that more than 300 Indian have been held hostage in Myanmar after they were lured to Thailand by a job racket. At least 60 people are from Tamil Nadu. The hostages are being forced to work in cybercrime industry. A report in Times of India said these hostages are being held by a gang at Myawaddy in Myanmar. Click here to read…

Bangladesh-Myanmar border tension: ASEAN envoys to relay Dhaka’s concerns – TBS News

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) envoys stationed in Dhaka have said they will relay Bangladesh’s concerns over the situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to their capitals. Acting Foreign Secretary Rear Admiral Md Khorshed Alam (retired) briefed the heads of missions from the southeast Asian countries in Dhaka Monday and informed them about the current situation in the bordering areas of Bangladesh and Myanmar. Click here to read…

Jaishankar discusses G20, situation in Myanmar with Indonesian counterpart – Money Control

The sources added given that India will be succeeding Indonesia as the G20 Chair, it is important that the Indonesian presidency is successful. It was also underlined during the meeting on how to focus the world’s attention on the relevant and pressing issues currently facing the planet, which is the big concern right now. Click here to read…

Myanmar military helicopters strafe religious school, killing 7 children and at least 6 adults: eyewitness report – SCMP

Government helicopters have attacked a school and village in north-central Myanmar, killing at least 13 people including seven children. Civilian casualties often occur in attacks by the military government on pro-democracy insurgents and their allies. However, the number of children killed in the air attack on Friday last week in Tabayin township appeared to be the highest since the army seized power in February last year, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Click here to read…

Regime imposes travel ban on local, international NGOs in Arakan State – BNI Online

Myanmar’s military regime has barred local and international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) from travelling to multiple townships in Arakan State following the renewed fighting between junta troops and the Arakan Army (AA) over recent weeks. Local and international NGOs have been barred from travelling to Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Minbya, Mrauk-U and Myebon townships as of Friday, an employee from an international NGO told DMG on condition of anonymity. Click here to read…

Nepal
‘Nepal is well positioned to leapfrog to a green development path’ – Himalayan Times

World Bank’s recently launched Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) has highlighted the impacts of climate risk and suggested Nepal to take an integrated approach to water, agriculture, and forests, harness the hydropower opportunity and energy transition, manage sustainable urbanisation, and strengthen low-carbon resilient connectivity. Click here to read…

India considers laying more petro pipelines for Nepal – Live Mint

India is considering setting up more pipelines for transporting refined petroleum products such as diesel to Nepal, two officials aware of the development said, outlining a measure to enhance New Delhi’s ties with Nepal and thwart China’s influence in the neighbourhood. Click here to read…

India, Nepal lay foundation stone for cross-border bridge – Big News Network

Senior officials of India and Nepal on Monday laid the foundation stone for the construction of a motorable cross-border bridge over the Mahakali River. Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister of India’s northern Uttarakhand state took part in a special prayer ceremony before he laid the foundation stone on the Indian side of the border. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Gastro, malaria claim 12 more lives: Dawn

Twelve more flood victims died of gastroenteritis and malaria within a day in different areas of Dadu and Kandhkot-Kashmore districts on Monday. The two diseases have so far proved to be the major cause behind most of the deaths among internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in squalid conditions at relief camps and flooded localities. Click here to read…

Editorial: The youngest victims: Dawn

FOR millions of children in Pakistan, life is going to be particularly precarious in the coming months, with consequences that will last well into the future — at least for those of them that manage to make it to adulthood. Click here to read…

COAS meets Chinese defence minister: The News

He expressed these views while talking to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa who is on an official two-day visit to China. General Bajwa called on Chinese Minister for Defence General Wei Fenghe, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement said on Monday. Click here to read…

Nation won’t forget traitors behind ‘imported’ govt: Imran: The News

Address a public meeting here, Imran asked the youth to break the idols of fear and scare those who scared them over phone from unknown numbers. He said those scaring the youth were worth nothing adding that the decision to elect their representatives to lead the country rested fairly and squarely with the people and none else. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
People’s revolt inevitable if no polls are held within 6 months. Ven. Dhammarathana: Daily Mirror

If a general election is not held within the the next six months after the formation of an all-party government, a revolt by public could become inevitable, Mihintale Rajamaha Viharaya head Ven. Valahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thera said. He made this comment when Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena visited the temple yesterday. Click here to read…

Tourist arrivals during Sept. 1-15 hit almost 15k: Daily Mirror

Tourist arrivals for the first 15 days of September totaled 14,833, bringing the arrivals for the January 1 to September 15 period to 511,263. An analysis of the daily arrival numbers, as shared by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, showed that the average arrival per day for the month is 988. Click here to read…

‘China a very close friend, but India is…’: Sri Lanka envoy on research ship: Hindustan Times

Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda on Monday extended gratitude to India for providing a “strong lifeline” during the economic crisis in the island nation and hoped that it will play a crucial role in the economic revival of his country. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, September 20, 2022

Chinese premier, Vietnamese PM hold phone conversation: Xinhuanet
September 19, 2022

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday talked over phone with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on bilateral ties. In the phone call, Li said China and Vietnam are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong communicate frequently, strongly promoting the development of bilateral relations. Click here to read…

China mulls measures to further boost foreign investment: Xinhuanet
September 19, 2022

China will take measures to boost foreign investment, with the manufacturing industry as a priority, the country’s top economic planner said Monday. China will facilitate the exchange of business personnel of foreign companies on the premise of strictly implementing epidemic prevention, as part of the efforts to address their outstanding problems, Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference. Click here to read…

Chinese Defense Minister meets Pakistani Chief of Army Staff: China Military
September 19, 2022

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe held a meeting with General Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army, in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on Monday morning. Gen. Wei Fenghe expressed his condolence over the severe floods hitting Pakistan. “China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, the friendship between China and Pakistan has become stronger as time goes by. Click here to read…

Cybersecurity law violators to face heavier penalties: China Daily
September 19, 2022

The Cyberspace Administration of China proposed a series of amendments to the Cybersecurity Law last week that would raise the size of fines for some violations and diversify penalties for infractions committed by operators of critical information infrastructure. Click here to read…

Former senior Qinghai provincial legislator expelled from CPC, public office: China Daily
September 19, 2022

Li Jiexiang, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of Qinghai Provincial People’s Congress, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and dismissed from public office over severe violations of Party discipline and laws, the country’s top anti-graft body said Monday. Click here to read…

China-Eurasia Expo kicks off in Xinjiang, rebukes US-led crackdown: Global Times
September 19, 2022

Over 3,600 companies from 32 countries and regions attended the 7th China-Eurasia Expo, which was launched on Monday in Urumqi, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as the region strives to build itself into a bridgehead of Belt and Road cooperation despite the US’ economic suffocation of this strategically important regionClick here to read…

One-third of China’s land protected under ecological ‘red line’ scheme: Reuters
September 19, 2022

Nearly a third of China’s land is now off-limits to development under a scheme known as the “ecological protection red line”, a senior official said at a news briefing on Monday, bringing the country in accord with global biodiversity targets. China first proposed its “red line” scheme in 2011 to put an end to decades of “irrational development” that had encroached on forests, wetlands and other precious ecosystems. Click here to read…

Head of Hong Kong journalists group charged with obstructing police: Reuters
September 19, 2022

The head of Hong Kong’s leading journalist group was charged on Monday with obstructing police officers, a case seen by critics as a further blow to media freedoms in the Chinese-ruled city. Ronson Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, was detained on Sept. 7 by two plainclothes officers while he was out reporting a story. Chan, who requested the officers identify themselves before handing over his identity document, was handcuffed and arrested. Click here to read…

UK might ax Confucius Institutes: Taipei Times
September 19, 2022

A group of cross-party British lawmakers is in talks with Taiwan to provide Chinese-language teachers to the UK as the British government seeks to phase out Chinese state-linked Confucius Institutes. There are 30 branches of the institute operating across the UK. Although controversies have existed for many years, they have continued to teach Britons Chinese language, culture and business etiquette. Click here to read…

As African countries pivot, China seizes chance to become a major military player: South China Morning Post
September 20, 2022

At a meeting of Chinese embassy officials and business representatives with immigration and security officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) earlier this month, one of the main topics was the safety of Chinese citizens and enterprises in the country. Click here to read…

China’s Greater Bay Area factories mostly staying put, but many have diversified abroad, survey finds: South China Morning Post
September 20, 2022

Manufacturers across China’s main economic and export engine – the Greater Bay Area – have really had to rein in their business plans this year, with small and medium-sized firms in a particularly difficult position, according to an annual survey.Information on the ground earlier this year indicated that companies in the region had a weak appetite for long-term investments, such as production expansions. And many were shelving or decelerating plans to move capacity outside China or to invest in technological upgrades, according to Standard Chartered’s annual survey of manufacturers operating in the Greater Bay Area. Click here to read…

China issues regulation on managing, overseeing leading officials: Xinhuanet
September 20, 2022

The General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has issued a regulation on improving the framework of systems for strictly managing and overseeing leading officials. The regulation aims to improve the mechanism for selecting and appointing leading officials, selecting outstanding individuals to take up posts and awarding them while filtering out the more mediocre officials. Click here to read…

Innovative SCO cooperation sought: China Daily
September 20, 2022

To offer better support for strong talent growth in enhancing opening-up, the Qingdao, Shandong province-based China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area has explored innovative cooperation with SCO member states in education. Click here to read…

New search for national mineral resources to begin: Global Times
September 20, 2022

China will begin a new program of exploration for mineral and energy resources, said the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) while reporting on the nation’s energy and mineral resources in the past decade. Click here to read…

China sees rapid development of logistics equipment manufacturing: People’s Daily

September 20, 2022

China has ranked at the top of the world in express parcel volume for eight consecutive years since 2014. Its express parcel volume surged 18-fold from 5.7 billion pieces in 2012 to 108.3 billion pieces in 2021. However, the capacity of express warehouses was often overwhelmed due to the rapid-growing business volume, which remained a serious challenge for the industry. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 19, 2022

Afghanistan
Sunday Marks One Year of Girls’ Ban from School: Tolo News

Sunday marks one-year since schools above grade six remain closed for girls’ students in grades 7-12 in Afghanistan. After coming to power, the Islamic Emirate closed schools for female students beyond grade six. Click here to read…

Moscow Stresses Need for Inclusive Afghan Govt: Tolo News

The Russian special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, saying that the recognition of the Islamic Emirate depends on its internal politics. The top Russian diplomat said that he has not seen evidence about the killing of Ayman-al-Zawahiri, the leader of the al-Qaeda network. Click here to read…

Taliban to ban TikTok and Pubg apps in Afghanistan: The Khaama Press

Taliban is going to ban TikTok and Pubg applications in Afghanistan within next 3 months times, the Ministry of Telecommunication announced on Saturday. The Ministry of Telecommunication in a meeting with the representatives of the security sector and a representative from the Sharia law enforcement administration has decided to ban both TikTok and Pubg applications in Afghanistan within a 90 days period of time. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
PM Hasina: Bangladesh gets free, fair elections only under Awami League: Dhaka Tribune

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said free and fair elections are held only during the Awami League’s regimes as she always struggled to establish democracy and democratic rights in the country. “Only during the Awami League government periods, you can see free fair elections,” she told BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg in an interview aired on Sunday. Click here to read…

Mozammel bats for international recognition of genocide of 1971: Dhaka Tribune

Urging all those who believe in the spirit of the liberation war to unite for the recognition of the genocide of 1971, Liberation War minister AKM Mozammel Haque said that the international recognition of the genocide carried out by the Pakistani invading forces on the liberation-seeking people of Bangladesh has not been achieved even in 51 years. Click here to read…

Bhutan
India-Bhutan border gates set to reopen from September 23 – Times of India

India-Bhutan border gates at Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu along the Assam frontier will reopen for tourists from September 23. This move comes after a hiatus of 2.5 years, the first time after COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Click here to read…

Bhutan is 127th on human development index – Kuensel Online

Bhutan has been ranked 127th out of 191 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI). The 2022 report was launched yesterday. Bhutan’s ranking has moved up by two ranks from 129 from the previous year. Click here to read…

Maldives

Tourist arrivals at 1.13 mln – Avas

Tourist arrivals to the Maldives thus far this year have reached 1.13 million. According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting the country has increased by 38 percent so far this year compared to the previous year. Click here to read…

Maldives granted SCO’s dialogue member status – Avas

The decision to grant dialogue membership to the Maldives was reached at the Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 27-28 July 2022. However, the decision was approved at the SCO summit in Uzbekistan on Friday. In addition to the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Egypt were granted SCO dialogue member status. Click here to read…

Myanmar
On Leadership and Power in Myanmar – The Irrawaddy

Some observers, of whom this writer is one, have long considered General Ne Win as the most destructive personal force in Myanmar’s modern history. In his various pivotal but detrimental roles as minister, deputy prime minister, prime minister, political party chairman, and commander of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces), he led the state in a mercurial and essentially whimsical manner—ever downward at his discretionClick here to read…

Myanmar Ethnic Armies AA and UWSA Leaders Meet to Build Relations – The Irrawaddy

New leaders of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and deputy commander-in-chief of the Arakan Army Brigadier General Nyo Tun Aung recently met in Mongla, eastern Shan State. Brig-Gen Nyo Tun Aung, 41, traveled from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) headquarters in Laiza to Mongla to meet the UWSA’s new deputy leader, Bao Ai Chan, also known as Bao Junping, 41. Click here to read…

Military uses waterways to step up Maungdaw operations as Arakan Army seizes territory – Myanmar Now

The Arakan Army (AA) overran a military base in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw on Thursday evening, one day after some 500 junta reinforcement troops were sent to the township by boat to avoid AA-controlled land routes. Click here to read…

Nepal
World Bank Vice President: Federalism is Good Foundation for Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Nepal – Mirage News

World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser, concluded his first visit to Nepal today, with the commitment to support the country’s federalism and Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID). Click here to read…

Why is Chief Justice of Nepal now under house arrest after surviving impeachment – Times Now News

98 Nepali lawmakers filed a general indictment against the CJN in February this year, accusing him of undermining the ruling coalition. A month later, they presented the impeachment to the legislature and established an 11-member committee to make recommendations regarding it. Sunday’s attempt by suspended Chief Justice Rana to visit the Supreme Court was unsuccessful. However, the action also caused a hornet’s nest in terms of its effects on more general politics. Click here to read…

Nepal, World Bank sign agreements worth over Rs52 billion – Kathmandu Post

The government of Nepal and the World Bank signed concessional financing agreements for $275 million (equivalent to Rs34.96 billion) for the Accelerating Nepal’s Regional Transport and Trade Connectivity (ACCESS) Project and $140 million (equivalent to Rs17.79 billion) for the Digital Nepal Acceleration (DNA) Project on Sunday. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Selection of army chief must not be politicised: Asif: Dawn

As speculation around the appointment of the next army chief grows, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in London on Sunday that the appointment “should not be politicised as it hurts the institution”. Mr Asif is in London accompanying Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is in the United Kingdom to attend the state funeral of the Queen on Monday (today), upon the invitation of the UK government. Click here to read…

Pakistan won’t default on debts despite floods, says Miftah: Dawn

Pakistan will “absolutely not” default on debt obligations despite catastrophic floods, the finance minister said on Sunday, signalling there would be no major deviation from reforms designed to stabilise a struggling economy. Click here to read…

Pakistan mulls importing Russia oil on deferred payment: The Express Tribune

Pakistan can import oil from Russia on deferred payment as both countries are in talks to discuss the possibility, a senior government functionary revealed on Sunday after the recent meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
With $968 mn of loans, India surpasses China to become largest lender of Sri Lanka: Mint

Surpassing China, India has become the largest bilateral lender to Sri Lanka by disbursing a total of $968 million in loans in four months of 2022, according to a media report. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka to brief creditors on IMF deal: Daily Mirror

The Sri Lankan government will virtually brief all its external creditors on September 23, 2022, on the deal agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the economic recovery and the next steps in the debt restructuring process. On September 1, the IMF reached a staff-level agreement to support Sri Lanka’s economic policies with a 48-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of about $2.9 billion. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, September 19, 2022

Maintaining CPC’s position as leadership core in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

When the Communist Party of China (CPC) reviewed the historic achievements and shifts accomplished in the past decade, the upholding of the CPC’s overall leadership was highlighted. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has taken a clear stand on upholding and strengthening overall Party leadership, providing fundamental guarantees for the cause of the Party and the country. Click here to read…

Xi meets with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday morning at Forumlar Majmuasi Complex in Samarkand. Xi pointed out that China and Iran enjoy a longstanding friendship and that their relations have stood the test of a changing international landscape. Click here to read…

Full text of Xi’s speech at SCO Samarkand summit: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) here on Friday. The following is the full text of the speech: Click here to read…

Xi meets Pakistani PM Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Friday Morning at Forumlar Majmuasi Complex in Samarkand. Xi pointed out that China and Pakistan are close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers and with a shared futureClick here to read…

China property investment down in January-August: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

China’s investment in property development went down 7.4 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2022, widening by 1 percentage point from that in the first seven months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Friday. Click here to read…

ASEAN Media Partners Forum boosts cooperation: China Daily
September 16, 2022

The 2022 ASEAN Media Partners Forum, co-sponsored by the Central Radio and Television Administration and the government of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was held in Nanning, Guangxi, on Thursday. Click here to read…

China sanctions CEOs of Raytheon Technologies, Boeing Defense over arms sale to Taiwan region: Global Times
September 16, 2022

The Chinese government is set to impose sanctions on Gregory J. Hayes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raytheon Technologies Corporation, and Theodore Colbert III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, following recent US arms sales to China’s Taiwan region, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday. Click here to read…

China property investment down in January-August: Xinhuanet
September 16, 2022

China’s investment in property development went down 7.4 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2022, widening by 1 percentage point from that in the first seven months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Friday. Click here to read…

China Telecom investigates fire in Changsha building; no casualties reported: Global Times
September 16, 2022

The large fire that engulfed a high-rise building belonging to China Telecom in Changsha, Central China’s Hunan Province, has been put out. No casualties were reported, the group announced Friday on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo. The group said that it had shut off power to some facilities in the building. Some customers’ mobile phones were affected and the group was dealing with the issue, read the announcement. Click here to read…

Chongqing reports first monkeypox case in Chinese mainland, low risk of transmission: authorities: Global Times
September 16, 2022

A monkeypox case was reported in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on Friday. It is the first time that the disease has been discovered in the Chinese mainland, following reports of it in China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong regions. Click here to read…

Xi urges SCO to strengthen cooperation, promote building of closer SCO community with shared future: China Military
September 17, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to uphold the Shanghai Spirit, strengthen unity and cooperation, and promote the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future. Click here to read…

China raises holdings of Treasuries in July, Japan cuts holdings, U.S. Treasury Department data show: Reuters
September 17, 2022

China increased its holdings of Treasuries in July for the first time in eight months, while Japan reduced its U.S. government debt load, data from the U.S. Treasury department showed on Friday. China’s stash of Treasuries rose to $970 billion in July, from $967.8 billion in June, which was the lowest since May 2010 when it had $843.7 billion. Click here to read…

China, Russia to hold meetings on security, law-enforcement: Xinhuanet
September 18, 2022

Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, will travel to China for the 17th round of China-Russia strategic security consultation and the 7th meeting of the China-Russia law-enforcement and security cooperation mechanism from September 18 to 19, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning announced on Sunday. Click here to read…

China’s large UAV completes first meteorological observation operation in Qinghai-Xizang Plateau: Global Times

September 18, 2022

The first test flight of the domestically developed plateau meteorological observation variant of Wing Loong II drone in China’s Qinghai-Xizang Plateau was conducted successfully over the weekend, which will provide more data for ecological protection on the plateau and scientific response to climate change. Click here to read…

China sees two manned submersibles put into joint operation in deep sea for first time: Global Times
September 18, 2022

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) has recently completed assigned tasks in the South China Sea at a depth of 1,500 meters with a 4,500-meter manned submersible, which is the first time that two manned submersibles have been put into a joint operation in China. Click here to read…

CH-4, WZ-7 drones spotted in PLA patrols near Taiwan island for 1st time: Global Times
September 18, 2022

The defense authority on the island of Taiwan on Saturday spotted a CH-4 armed reconnaissance drone of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) near the island for the first time, marking the sixth type of drone that has appeared in the region in September following the WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone that made its debut on Thursday. Click here to read…

Central enterprises to establish chief compliance officer; compliance reviews embedded in business management: Global Times
September 18, 2022

China’s central government-owned companies should establish chief compliance officer and compliance reviews must be embedded in the business management process, a document released by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) said. Click here to read…

China’s rice imports jump over 42% in Jan-Aug amid low prices: Global Times
September 18, 2022

China’s cumulative imports of rice showed rapid growth during the first eight months of this year, customs data showed on Sunday. The rise in rice imports, which are expected to be mainly used as feed grain, mainly reflected low global prices and does not reflect changes in domestic output due to drought, experts noted. Click here to read…

Chinese cities race to experiment autonomous driving, ready to accelerate commercial use: Global Times
September 18, 2022

Don’t get surprised if a visitor board a taxi or bus in Shenzhen, a tech hub in South China’s Guangdong Province, and can’t find a driver. Nowadays, more cities in China are offering driverless public transport, reflecting the rapid growth of autonomous driving in the country. Click here to read…

Crash victims in southern China were on COVID quarantine bus: Reuters
September 18, 2022

The victims of a bus crash which killed 27 people and injured a further 20 in southwest China’s Guizhou province were in an official government health vehicle and were being transported for COVID reasons, local media reported on Sunday. Click here to read…

Officials in Tibet’s capital Lhasa apologise for handling of Covid lockdown after string of complaints: South China Morning Post
September 18, 2022

The authorities in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa have apologised for their handling of the city’s lockdown after angry residents complained about food shortages, a lack of proper care for hospital and quarantine patients, and a chaotic mass-testing system.
Zhandui, one of the city’s vice mayors, bowed in apology during a media briefing on Saturday night and said the complaints had highlighted the city government’s shortcomings and weaknesses. Click here to read…

China’s top police chief warns law enforcement to stay alert to risk of ‘colour revolution’ ahead of major Communist Party gathering: South China Morning Post
September 18, 2022

China’s top police chief has hailed law enforcement’s role in supporting the implementation of Hong Kong’s national security law and urged police to stay alert to the risk of a “colour revolution” in an article for a leading Communist Party journal ahead of the year’s biggest political set piece. In the article, Wang Xiaohong, the minister for public security, also stressed the importance of loyalty to President Xi Jinping and the leadership, urging law enforcement to “clear risks” and “maintain stability” ahead of next month’s party congress, where Xi is expected to secure a norm-breaking third term. Click here to read…

Biden again says U.S. will defend Taiwan if China invades: Kyodo
September 19, 2022

President Joe Biden said in an interview aired Sunday that U.S forces would defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China, the clearest response yet to the issue of whether the United States will come to the aid of the self-ruled island. Click here to read…

Frugal is the new cool for young Chinese as economy falters: Reuters
September 19, 2022

Before the pandemic, Doris Fu imagined a different future for herself and her family: new car, bigger apartment, fine dining on weekends and holidays on tropical islands. Instead, the 39-year old Shanghai marketing consultant is one of many Chinese in their 20s and 30s cutting spending and saving cash where they can, rattled by China’s coronavirus lockdowns, high youth unemployment and a faltering property market. Click here to read…

China to accelerate projects, boost consumption to spur recovery: Reuters
September 19, 2022

China will speed up fund injections to expedite project construction and boost domestic consumption, China’s state planner said at a news conference on Monday. That came after the world’s second-biggest economy slowed sharply in the second quarter, dragged down by a deepening property crisis, and slowing exports and imports. Click here to read…

Former general manager of China’s state railway expelled from Party: Global Times
September 19, 2022

Sheng Guangzu, former general manager of China’s state railway, has been stripped of his Party membership for severely violating Party discipline, and for criminally profiting from his influence, according to China’s anti-graft body. Click here to read…

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 16, 2022

Afghanistan
US Establishes ‘Afghan Fund’ in Switzerland With $3.5B of Frozen Assets: Tolo News

The United States established a fund to assist the people of Afghanistan, known as the “Afghan Fund,” through the Departments of the Treasury and of State, in cooperation with international partners including the government of Switzerland and Afghan economic experts. Click here to read…

Vienna Meeting to Discuss Afghanistan’s Future: Afghan Political Figures Gather in Austria

Political adversaries of the Taliban have gathered in Vienna, the capital of Austria, for a three-day meeting, behind closed doors, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and resistance against the Taliban. At least 31 Afghan political figures and civil activists were invited to the meeting, according to preliminary knowledge acquired by Khaama Press; however, some of them were unable to attend the first day due to personal or visa-related reasons. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
Doraiswami: Bangladesh-India are connected through the heart: Dhaka Tribune

Outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has said Bangladesh-India relationship is a “train” that must keep moving to do more great things together. “That energy needs to be carried through,” he said, adding that there are many great things that the two countries have achieved together in the past decade which should be celebrated. Click here to read…

India pitches for trans-shipment of goods bound for Bangladesh via Indian ports: Hindustan Times

India has proposed several measures to Bangladesh to boost trade and connectivity between the two sides, including greater trans-shipment of goods via Indian ports and the import of tea from India’s northeastern states, people familiar with the matter said. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Bhutan is 127th on human development index: Kuensel

Bhutan has been ranked 127th out of 191 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI). The 2022 report was launched yesterday. Bhutan’s ranking has moved up by two ranks from 129 from the previous year. Click here to read…

India-Bhutan border to be reopened from September 23: ThePrint

“Government of Bhutan has officially announced that international border with India will be opened on Sept 23 as Covid cases have subsided. We prepare to open the border and give visitors a good experience, said Tashi Penjore, the Himalayan kingdom’s Director (law and order) of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Click here to read…

Maldives
Abdul Ghafoor officially appointed Ambassador to US: Sun Online

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Thursday, appointed Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed as the Ambassador of the Maldives to the United States (US). Ghafoor’s letter of appointment was presented to him by the president at a special ceremony held at the President’s Office on Thursday morning. Click here to read…

Discussions underway on controlling drug prices: Avas

Discussions are underway on controlling the price of medical drugs, Presidential Spokesperson Miuwan Mohamed said.
At a press conference at the President’s Office on Thursday, Miuwan said the government believes that the price of medicines is closely linked to the welfare of the people. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Leaked document suggests Myanmar military units are in disarray: Myanmar Now

A leaked copy of a speech delivered by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in a June meeting of military officials suggested that the regime’s armed forces are struggling to cope with heavy losses caused by clashes with resistance forces across Myanmar. Click here to read…

Mizoram CM seeks New Delhi’s proactive role in restoring peace in Myanmar: Hindustan Times

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has sought New Delhi’s proactive role in restoring peace in Myanmar in the wake of the increasing influx of refugees from that country since the Myanmarese army ousted the democratically-elected government and seized power in February last year. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Editorial: No end to impunity: Dawn

SOME things in Pakistan, it seems, never change. Among these is the abhorrent ‘kill-and-dump’ policy allegedly employed by sections of the deep state to get rid of ‘undesirable’ elements. Click here to read…

Putin offers Shehbaz gas to warm ties: The Express Tribune

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Samarkand on Thursday in a significant move that highlights that despite the change of government in Islamabad both the sides are keen to deepen their bilateral cooperation. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
India plans to stop financial aid to Sri Lanka after IMF bailout: Report: Daily Mirror

India does not plan to provide fresh financial support to Sri Lanka on top of the nearly $4 billion it has extended this year, two sources told Reuters, as the island’s battered economy starts to stabilise after a preliminary loan agreement with the IMFClick here to read…

Sri Lanka will not be part of any Indian Ocean turf war: President Ranil Wickremesinghe: India Today

Sri Lanka will not take part in any “big power rivalry” in the Indian Ocean and it is unfortunate that his country has been made the “punching bag” for Hambantota, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said, weeks after India and China clashed over the docking of a high-tech Chinese ship at the country’s southern port. Click here to read…