Tag Archives: Taliban

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: November 25, 2021

Afghanistan
US Envoy on Afghanistan to Return to Doha to Meet Taliban: Tolo News

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan will visit Doha next week for two weeks of meetings with leaders of the Taliban, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Islamic Emirate Appoints 27 Senior Officials: Tolo News

The Islamic Emirate officials said they appointed 27 people in senior positions to ministries as well as to other departments and to the military. Click here to read…

US-Taliban to resume talks with a focus on counterterrorism operations: The Khaama Press

The U.S and Taliban officials will resume talks in Doha, Qatar next week to discuss counterterrorism operations against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, humanitarian assistance and economic crisis in Afghanistan, the U.S Department of State have revealed. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
UNGA adopts resolution to graduate Bangladesh from LDC- Dhaka Tribune

In a historic move, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution to graduate Bangladesh and two other countries from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category. Click here to read…

President Hamid to people: Unite to build Bangabandhu’s ‘Sonar Bangla’- Dhaka Tribune

President Md Abdul Hamid on Wednesday called for forging unity among the people, irrespective of religion, caste and creed, to implement Bangabandhu’s pledge to build ‘Sonar Bangla. Click here to read…

State-run fertiliser factories: White Elephants they’re now- Daily Star

The factories are consuming natural gas heavily, but producing urea fertilizer much less than their modern peers do. Click here to read…

Bangladesh, China not invited to Biden’s democracy summit- Asian Age

Bangladesh and China are not seen on the list of the invitees. Taiwan’s inclusion is sure to infuriate the Chinese government, which views the self-governing island as a breakaway territory and opposes any attempts to legitimize it on the international stage. Click here to read…

Bhutan
CSOs should serve society, not selves: MPs- Kuensel

The review of the CSO (Amendment) Bill 2021 by National Assembly (NA) members on November 18 highlighted widespread concerns about activities and financial operations of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country. Click here to read…

New road safety regulations to begin from January 2022- Kuensel

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) came up with new regulations to cope with the emerging issues of the growing number of vehicles and new technology. Click here to read…

A Perspective on the Construction Industry- Bhutan Times

Construction is a global industry, with a total estimated annual output of US$11 trillion in 2020, and is projected to hit US$15 trillion by 2030. Click here to read…

Wungchilo marijuana field attracts miscreants- Trashi Yangtse- BBS

Wungchilo in Trashi Yangtse is a safe haven for abusing and making drugs. As the place is far from the settlement and with plenty of marijuana plants, miscreants visit the place to abuse drugs and make hashish to sell. Click here to read…

Maldives
Maldives reports 123 new Covid-19 cases, 139 recoveries – Raajje

Maldives confirmed 123 new Covid-19 cases alongside 139 additional recoveries by sundown on Tuesday. According to the latest figures publicized by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), 3,516 samples were tested for the virus between 6pm Monday and 6pm Tuesday. Click here to read…

Agoda Signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) With Maldives Border Miles Initiative to Boost Post-Pandemic Tourism – Business Wire

Maldives Border Miles (MBM), a loyalty program initiated by Maldives Immigration in collaboration with key government stakeholders, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global digital travel platform Agoda, (part of Booking Holdings, Nasdaq BKNG), to boost tourism in the countryClick here to read…

Myanmar
Tatmadaw Raids Catholic Institutions in Kayah State, Myanmar – persecution.org

On November 22, the Myanmar military junta known as the Tatmadaw raided a cathedral, bishop’s house, and church-run clinic in the primarily Catholic Kayah State in Myanmar. Over 200 soldiers and police officers raided Christ the King Cathedral in Loikaw, Kayah State’s capital, as well as raided the Karuna clinic and bishop’s houseClick here to read…

Myanmar’s Army Is Fighting a Multi-Front War – The Diplomat

A town of 8,000 people in Myanmar’s Chin State has been emptied of all its residents following a confrontation between the local self-defense force and the soldiers of the junta. Click here to read…

Rumbles in Rakhine amid strains between Myanmar military, rebels – Aljazeera

Since Myanmar’s military staged a coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, triggering mass unrest, the formerly restive far-western state of Rakhine has remained relatively peaceful. Click here to read…

Mizoram: Cross-border transport project nearing completion, say officials – East Mojo

Mizoram Public Works Department said over 96% “physical progress” has been already achieved in the ambitious cross-border Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) on Mizoram side, an official said on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Nepal
NBA threatens to intensify stir against CJ- Himalaya

The Nepal Bar Association and dissident justices of the Supreme Court continued to protest against Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today as well and threatened to intensify their agitation. Click here to read…

Health Minister Khatiwada promises measures against tobacco use- Himalaya

Minister for Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada has said that appropriate measures would be taken to control and regulate the use of tobacco products. Click here to read…

Upcoming upper house polls could leave a weakened UML even weaker

A loss may be solely the UML’s but holds the potential for affecting national understanding by deepening the divide. Click here to read…

Agroecology, Nepal’s answer to climate change

The answer to addressing climate impact is to regenerate the most important ecosystem of all: the soil. Click here to read…

Population Census 2021: Data Vs Reliability- Republica

A high alert during the entire process of data collection under the census is of paramount importance to ensure the quality and reliability of the outcome of the census. Click here to read…

Pakistan
NA panel’s head disallows vote on NAB bills: Dawn

Of the 20 committee members including its chairman Riaz Fatyana, six members from the treasury and 10 opposition members were present at the meeting that had been convened to consider five bills, including the NAO (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the NAO (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021. Click here to read…

Ecnec okays Rs190bn road infrastructure projects: Dawn

A meeting of Ecnec, chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and attended by Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtiar and federal secretaries, approved the Pakistan Optical Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-02) project of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) worth Rs27.913bn. Click here to read…

SBP projects up to 5% economic growth despite challenges: The Express Tribune

The central bank has projected the economy to grow strongly in the range of four to five per cent in the current fiscal year 2021-22, but warned of challenges including exponentially high global commodity prices, elevated import payments, increase in utility tariffs, higher inflation and expansion in services deficit. Click here to read…

Pakistan’s debt, liabilities cross Rs50tr: The Express Tribune

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released the debt figures till September 2021, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan described the increasing debt as a “national security issue”. Click here to read…

COAS for global convergence on Afghanistan: The News

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has reiterated the need for global convergence on Afghanistan for avoiding humanitarian crisis and coordinated efforts for economic uplift of the Afghan people. Click here to read…

China: Daily Scan, November 5, 2021

China issues IPR protection, application plan for 2021-2025 period: Xinhuanet
November 3, 2021

China has recently issued a major plan on IPR protection and application work for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), highlighting innovation, application and protection in the sector, according to IPR authorities. The plan is a blueprint with detailed targets and measures for the country to embark on a journey to strengthen its intellectual property undertakings, the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) said. Click here to read…

China to regulate business operations of police family members: Xinhuanet
November 3, 2021

Chinese police authority regulates business operations by family members of police officers as it released a document listing business areas to be avoided.The negative list, published by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), delineated five areas in which police officers’ spouses, children and their spouses are banned from entering. Click here to read…

China seeks to expand IoT applications into more areas: People’s Daily
November 4, 2021

China plans to have more than 2 billion connections for its Internet of Things (IoT) by 2023, according to an action plan jointly formulated and released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and seven other ministries. Click here to read…

11 nabbed over money scam using digital currency: China Daily
November 4, 2021

Police in Xinmi in Central China’s Henan province have detained 11 suspects after cracking down on the country’s first money laundering case using digital currency. “The crackdown has opened a new battlefield to fight against money laundering in the country,” said Xinmi police in their official WeChat account on Wednesday. Click here to read…

UN General Assembly panel adopts China’s draft arms-control resolution: China Daily
November 5, 2021

The First Committee of the 76th United Nations General Assembly passed a draft resolution on arms control submitted by China on Wednesday. It was the first time in 30 years that China proposed a measure on international arms control and disarmament issues at the UN. The draft resolution “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” says that “all countries have the right to exchange equipment, materials, and science and technology for peaceful purposes, and that all countries should take concrete measures to promote peace while fulfilling their obligations to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery”.Click here to read…

Latest blasts in Kabul deepen concerns over security; Taliban govt urged to take stronger measures in fighting terrorism: Global Times
November 3, 2021

Explosions at the biggest military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed at least 25 people and injured more than 50 on Tuesday, deepened the international community’s concerns over the security situation and stability in Afghanistan. Analysts urged the Afghan Taliban interim government to take stronger moves to crack down on terrorism before more extremists are stirred up and drive the war-torn country into a hotbed of terrorism and extremism. Click here to read…

Xi Jinping vows to address trade practice concerns as China seeks to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: South China Morning Post
November 4, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping criticised protectionism and unilateralism on Thursday, promising to address concerns about China’s trade practices as the country seeks to join a Pacific Rim trade bloc. “China supports the reform of the World Trade Organization in the right direction, the inclusive development of the multilateral trading system, and the legitimate rights and interests of the developing members,” Xi said, adding that China would push forward its efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement.
In a video address to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Xi said China has “fully fulfilled the commitments it made when joining the WTO in 2001”. Click here to read…

Beijing orders fresh batch of apps, including some run by Tencent and Alibaba, to rectify violations as regulatory crackdown continues: South China Morning Post
November 3, 2021

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has ordered 38 apps, including news and music services apps run by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, as well as popular social media platforms such as Xiaohongshu, to rectify violations related to excessive data collection and publishing misleading information, as Chinese authorities maintain a regulatory crackdown. Click here to read…

Top Hong Kong court rules against government bid to expand riot prosecutions: Reuters
November 4, 2021

Hong Kong’s top court on Thursday quashed attempts by the city’s government to prosecute people for rioting or illegal assembly even without being present at the scene – a ruling lawyers described as a landmark. The five-judge panel in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, headed by Chief Justice Andrew Cheung, unanimously rejected an earlier ruling by a lower appeal court that people, such as supporters, could be criminally liable without being actually present under the common law doctrine of “joint enterprise”.Click here to read…

Chinese developers’ shares, bonds stumble again as Kaisa, units suspended: Reuters
November 5, 2021

A rout in shares and bonds of Chinese property developers deepened on Friday as Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd (1638.HK) and three of its units had their shares suspended, a day after Kaisa said an affiliate had missed a payment on a wealth management product. Shenzhen-based homebuilder Kaisa, which has guaranteed the wealth management product, said in a statement on Thursday it is facing unprecedented liquidity pressure due to a challenging property market and rating downgrades. Click here to read…

Global Developments and Analysis: Weekly Monitor, 27 September- 03 October

Economic

$385bn of China’s Belt and Road lending kept undisclosed: report

A staggering $385 billion of Chinese debt to other countries has been hidden from the World Bank and IMF thanks to the way the loans are structured, U.S.-based AidData said on Sept 29 in its latest version of the Global Chinese Official Finance Dataset. The report also alleges that a major portion of Chinese development financing in Pakistan is composed of expensive loans. The AidData report claims Beijing has made its overseas development finance non-transparent. It says that China systematically underreports its debt to the World Bank’s Debtor Reporting System by lending money to private companies in lower middle-income countries by using special purpose vehicles (SPVs), rather than to state institutions. This makes it difficult for debtors and multilateral lenders to assess the costs and benefits of participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. It also heightens the possibility of debtors falling into debt traps with only one way to climb out: by selling geopolitically important assets to China. The report further says that due to debt spending by China under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative, 42 countries now have levels of public debt exposure to China in excess of 10% of GDP. Click here to read…

U.S. sanctions spur China and Russia to build up cross-border links

A 2,200-meter rail bridge across the Amur River, between China and Russia, was completed in August this year, part of a push to deepen economic ties between the two countries facing U.S. sanctions. The new bridge is a boon for companies that move goods across the China-Russia border. “We’ll be able to slash shipping times once the rail bridge opens up,” said an employee at one trading company based in China’s north-eastern Heilongjiang Province. Her company currently uses ships to move shipments across the river, and then loads them onto trucks on the other side. But the once the bridge begins operations — sometime between January and March — according to Russian media, shipping will become much faster. Beijing and Moscow have historically not always been close. But their shared rivalry with Washington has spurred greater cooperation between the neighbouring powers, which aim to nearly double bilateral trade by 2024. A car bridge that connects the Heilongjiang city of Heihe and the Russian province of Amur was also completed in 2019. Though still not open to traffic due to increased border restrictions from the coronavirus, locals believe it will play a key role in the development of the area. Click here to read…

EU pushes back Australia trade talks over France submarine snub

The European Union has postponed free trade talks with Australia, signalling that tensions remained high after Canberra’s decision to cancel a $40 billion submarine contract with France. The Australian government said Oct 01 that talks with Brussels scheduled for mid-October have now been pushed back to November; although it stressed that the process will continue. The move comes two weeks after Canberra formed a new defense partnership with the U.S. and the U.K. called AUKUS, which led to the cancellation of the large-scale submarine deal with France. The postponement of the trade talks may make it difficult to sign a deal by year-end as the two sides had hoped. With a French presidential election coming next spring, Paris cannot readily back down from its hard-line stance because of public opinion. The negotiations have assumed greater importance for Canberra as its relationship with Beijing deteriorates. China buys more than 30% of Australia’s exports but has been imposing trade barriers such as high tariffs on agricultural products. A deal with the EU, which accounted for less than 4% of Australia’s exports, last year at 17 billion Australian dollars ($12.3 billion), would give Canberra a much-needed opportunity to diversify. Click here to read…

China develops passenger jet, but 40% of parts suppliers are overseas

A Chinese-made passenger jet set to compete with American and European rivals counts roughly 40% of its core component suppliers as overseas companies, exposing the risks posed by U.S. trade frictions to a plane that has been under development for more than a decade. The C919 jetliner, being manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, or COMAC, is due to be delivered to the first customer by the end of the year. However, with that deadline looming, the plane was a no-show at the Air show China in Zhuhai on Sept 30. COMAC instead exhibited a life-size model of the cabin. It is widely believed that the C919 is approaching the conclusion of its development, which began in 2008. But potential turbulence lays ahead for the C919’s business prospects. Out of the 39 lead suppliers for the plane, more than 40% hail from the U.S. or other countries outside China, according to documents from China-based brokerage Avic Securities and other sources. The remaining suppliers include joint venture firms backed by foreign companies. The share of parts sourced from non-Chinese companies appears to rise even higher when tallied in terms of value. Click here to read…

Fed Prepares to Launch Review of Possible Central Bank Digital Currency

The Federal Reserve plans as early as this week to launch a review of the potential benefits and risks of issuing a U.S. digital currency, as central banks around the world experiment with the potential new form of money. Advocates say a Fed digital dollar could make it faster and cheaper to move money around the financial system, bring into it people who lack bank accounts and provide an efficient way for the government to distribute financial aid. Another motivating consideration: keeping up with other major jurisdictions considering a digital currency for domestic and international payments, Fed. Gov. Lael Brainard said in remarks before the National Association for Business Economics on Sept. 27. “It’s just very hard for me to imagine that the U.S., given the status of the dollar as a dominant currency in international payments, wouldn’t come to the table in that circumstance with a similar kind of an offering,” she said. However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated he sees reason for caution. He said at a Sept. 22 press conference that they would only consider issuing a so-called central bank digital currency—or CBDC—if they believed there were “clear and tangible benefits that outweigh any costs and risks.” Click here to read…

U.S., Europe Team Up to Address Chip Shortage, Tech Issues

U.S. and European Union officials agreed to join forces in an effort to boost the semiconductor supply chain and maintain leadership in emerging technologies. In a joint statement Sept 29, the new U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council said the two governments will “seek to strengthen their competitiveness and technological leadership by developing common strategies to mitigate the impact of non-market practices at home and in third countries.” While the statement didn’t mention China by name, Beijing’s economic practices—including subsidies for favoured industries—were one of the factors behind the commission’s formation.“We know a big part of this is due to the behaviour of China,” a senior European trade official said. In their meetings Sept 29, officials discussed ways to reinforce semiconductor supply chains and to strengthen export controls and investment screening to protect sensitive technologies and data. The two sides will also develop and implement artificial-intelligence systems that will protect privacy and human rights. Click here to read…

OPEC Opts Against Big Output Boost, Pushing Oil Prices to Seven-Year High

OPEC and a Russia-led group of oil producers agreed to continue increasing production in measured steps, delegates said Oct 04, deciding against opening the taps more widely and driving crude prices to their highest levels since 2014.The decision sent oil prices sharply higher. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, rose 3% to $78.13. Brent, the international gauge, rose more than 3% to $81.77 a barrel. Rises in oil prices recently had some market watchers expecting OPEC and its Russia-led allies to lift production more significantly. Instead, the OPEC and Russia said the group, which calls itself OPEC+, would lift its collective output by 400,000 barrels a day in monthly instalments, part of a previously agreed plan to return output to pre-Covid-19 levels. Early last year, the two groups abandoned a price war that had weakened prices and cut back sharply on their combined output, as the coronavirus shut down economies and drove down demand for crude. As economies started to open back up, OPEC+ began returning that oil to market. It more recently agreed to add about 400,000 a barrel a day of crude each month, seeking to return production to pre-Covid 19 levels by next year. Click here to read…

Evergrande halts stock trading on possible sale of property management unit as more debt deadlines approach

Shares of China Evergrande Group and its property management arm were halted from trading in Hong Kong on Oct 04 ahead of a potential asset sale, as the world’s most indebted developer rushes to sell its core assets for cash to stave off a liquidity crunch. Evergrande Property Services Group said trading was suspended pending an announcement under the city’s takeover code about a “possible general offer” for its shares, according to a regulatory filing. The offer could come from another China-based developer Hopson Development, which is said to be buying a 51 per cent stake that values the unit at HK$40 billion (US$5.1 billion), Chinese financial news portal Cailian reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Hopson was also suspended from trading in Hong Kong for a potential takeover announcement, it said in a filing. The company has engaged in a years-long spending spree to diversify its business beyond property development, expanding into everything from wealth management to electric vehicles (EV), draining cash. The liquidity squeeze has worsened as Beijing adopted new rules designed to tamp down speculative property price bubbles. Click here to read…

Australia challenges Google’s ad dominance, calls for data-use rules

Australia’s antitrust watchdog called for powers to curb Google’s use of internet data to sell targeted ads, joining other regulators in saying the firm dominates the market to the point of hurting publishers, advertisers and consumers. The comments, in a report published on Sept 28, puts Australia alongside Europe and Britain where regulators want to stop the Alphabet Inc unit trouncing rival advertisers by using the data it collects from people’s online searches – including on maps and YouTube – to place marketing material. The U.S. justice department is meanwhile preparing an anti-monopoly lawsuit accusing Google of using its market muscle to hobble advertising rivals, according to media reports. “The Europeans and the U.K. are consulting on such laws at the moment and we’re going to be trying to align with them over the next year,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims said in a Reuters interview. Already this year Google said it was poised to withdraw core services from Australia over a law–also recommended by the ACCC– forcing it to pay media companies for content that drives traffic to its search engine. It ultimately inked deals with most major outlets. Click here to read…

China power cuts, UK petrol woes: Why is there an energy crunch?

Unprecedented power cuts in Northern China left millions without electricity, ground factories to a halt and sent workers to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning after ventilators lost power during a blackout. “Sorry out of use” signs have become ubiquitous at petrol stations in many parts of the United Kingdom this week, while energy firms fold due to skyrocketing natural gas prices. Energy prices across Europe are breaking records, too. Partly, analysts say the reasons behind the energy shortages are multi-fold and many of them predate the COVID-19 crisis. It’s true that increasing consumer and factory demand for energy leading to supply chain bottlenecks and production chain pain points. Many investors have pivoted to more renewable energy sources over the past five to 10 years as part of a global push to address climate change. But the reality is that much of the world still relies on traditional sources of energy such as oil, coal and gas — especially as renewable sources get up and running. And as they do, that has led to a lack of investment in fossil fuels, which is contributing to the current issues, analysts say. Click here to read…

Crunch time for Biden as Congress debates historic spending agenda

Joe Biden faces the most important test of his presidency this week as Democrats in the US Congress launch a highwire bid to implement his sweeping economic agenda while keeping the government’s lights on. The House and Senate are moving toward votes on legislation dealing with infrastructure and social programs worth almost $5 trillion while also averting a government shutdown on Oct 01 and a looming debt default. Failure on any front would be catastrophic for a president looking to cement his legacy, while Democrats would see their chances diminished for hanging onto the House of Representatives and Senate in next year’s midterm elections. “You know me: I’m born optimistic. I think things are going to go well. I think we’re going to get it done,” Biden told reporters at the White House. At stake is the fate of Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better social welfare package that only Democrats support, and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to improve transport networks and broadband coverage. Click here to read…

Strategic

U.S. set to resume trade talks with China

The U.S. administration led by President Joe Biden is set to resume negotiations with Beijing as part of its long-awaited strategy for handling trade with China.U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to speak to Chinese vice premier Liu He by telephone over the next few days, calling on China to respect the “phase one” trade agreement it signed with Washington under former President Donald Trump. The U.S. also plans to resurrect partial exemptions on punitive tariffs to help curb the impact of trade tensions on its domestic industry. That comes as Tai prepares to unveil the Biden administration’s China trade policy in a speech on Oct 04. To prompt Beijing to abide by the phase one agreement, Tai is expected to underscore that Washington will “use the full range of tools we have and develop new tools as needed to defend American economic interests from harmful policies and practices.” The U.S. aims to persuade China to correct unfair trade practices through dialogue, without setting a specific deadline for talks. The U.S. plans to reinstate tariff exemptions, which expired at the end of 2020 apart from on pharmaceutical products. It is possible that imports related to climate change and infrastructure, including renewable energy-related items, may be spared from the tariffs. Click here to read…

‘Hostage diplomacy’ fears linger after China frees Canadians

China freed diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor on Sept 25, Asia time, immediately after Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was granted release from house arrest in Vancouver. The move followed the U.S. dropping a request for Meng’s extradition and came despite Beijing’s repeated claims that there was no connection between the cases. “It’s a clear confirmation that hostage diplomacy works, and this is an approach that China has used many times in the past 10 to 15 years,” said Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016, in comments to Nikkei Asia. After the Michaels were jailed, Saint-Jacques pushed for Canada to rally other countries and amplify its relatively small voice on the global stage. Last February, with the support of former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Canada launched a Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. It did not name any country, and governments other than China use such tactics, but there was little doubt about the intended target.The declaration has been signed so far by 66 countries and the European Union. Canada now proposes turning the document into a treaty with protocols, including sanctions, to discourage hostage diplomacy. Click here to read…

Two Koreas reopen hotlines as North urges South to mend ties

The two Koreas on Oct 04 restored their hotlines that the North severed months ago, with Pyongyang urging Seoul to step up efforts to improve relations after criticizing what it called double standards over weapons development. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness last week to reactivate the hotlines, which North Korea cut off in early August in protest against joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, just days after reopening them for the first time in a year. The South confirmed that twice-daily regular communication was restarted on time via military hotlines and others run by the Unification Ministry, except for the navy channel set up on an international network for merchant ships. The hotlines are a rare tool to bridge the rivals, but it was unclear whether their reconnection would facilitate any meaningful return to talks aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear and missile programs in return for U.S. sanctions relief. KCNA called for Seoul to fulfill its “tasks” to mend strained cross-border ties, repeating Kim’s speech last week that he had decided to recover the lines to help realize people’s hopes for a thaw and peace. Click here to read…

The Generals Contradict Biden on Afghanistan

President Biden hopes the political fallout from his botched Afghanistan withdrawal will fade quickly, but Sept 28’s Senate hearing with the secretary of Defense and two top generals doesn’t cast his decisions in a better light. The hearing underscored that the President acted against the advice of the military in yanking the residual U.S. force from the country. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie both made clear in their testimony that they recommended that about 2,500 U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan to delay a Taliban takeover. That’s not what Mr. Biden said he was told. Asked in an ABC News interview days after the August fall of Kabul if his military advisers urged him to maintain America’s small footprint in the country, Mr. Biden said, “No one said that to me that I can recall.” The scandal isn’t that the President ignored military advice—he’s the decision-maker. It’s his refusal to own his decision. The generals also undercut Mr. Biden’s spin about their advice as the chaotic withdrawal was underway. He said the generals unanimously supported his Aug. 31 deadline for the departure of U.S. troops. But as Gen. Milley confirmed in questioning by Sen. Tom Cotton, that advice was given on Aug. 25—10 days after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Click here to read…

Taliban demands US respect Afghan airspace after alleged drone incursions

The Taliban has demanded that the US respect Afghanistan’s sole rights over its own airspace and called on the world’s strongest military to keep out or be prepared to face “negative consequences.”On Sept 29, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned of consequences if the US continues to violate Afghan airspace in a statement shared on Twitter. “The U.S. has violated all international rights and laws as well as its commitments made to the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, with the operation of these drones in Afghanistan,” the statement read.The Taliban said it called on all countries, but especially the United States, to remain in accordance with international law and their commitments to Afghanistan. The statement claims the Taliban-controlled Kabul government is the sole custodian of Afghanistan and its airspace, adding that if the US fails to recognize this, it will face negative consequences.US officials are yet to comment on the Taliban statement. A US drone strike in August, just days before the military evacuation was complete, killed an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children. The strike was intended for ISIS-K terrorists. Click here to read…

US-abandoned Bagram base reportedly operational for first time in two months, as rumors swirl of Chinese military presence

Bagram Airfield, once the linchpin of the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, is said to be powered and serving planes again. A foreign force is rumoured to be involved, with fingers pointed at China, which denied eyeing the base. A photo shared on social media purportedly shows the base on Oct 03 night with its floodlights on. There are claims that several planes have landed at and taken off from the airfield in recent hours. If confirmed, it would be the first time Bagram had served aircraft in almost 50 days, marking a significant development. The base was abandoned by US troops in early July as the Pentagon prepared for the withdrawal of most of its troops from Afghanistan. It had been intended that the Afghan national government would maintain it, but the regime’s subsequent collapse in August put Bagram in the hands of the Taliban. There are doubts that the militant movement has the expertise to fully run the base or even has the need for it, so it’s presumed that the resumption of air traffic signifies a foreign power is involved. Fingers were immediately pointed at China as Bagram’s likely new operator, despite Beijing previously having stated it had no intention of deploying troops to Afghanistan. Click here to read…

Qatar calls Taliban moves on girls’ education ‘very disappointing’

Qatar’s top diplomat says the Taliban’s moves on girls’ education in Afghanistan are “very disappointing” and “a step backwards” and called on the group’s leadership to look to Doha for how to run an Islamic system. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was referring to, among other things, the Taliban’s refusal to allow Afghan female secondary school students to resume their studies, weeks after the group took power. He spoke at a news conference on Sept 30 with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in Doha. “The recent actions that we have seen unfortunately in Afghanistan, it has been very disappointing to see some steps being taken backwards,” he said. “We need to keep engaging them and urging them not to take such actions, and we have also been trying to demonstrate for the Taliban how Muslim countries can conduct their laws, how they can deal with the women’s issues,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “One of the examples is the State of Qatar, which is a Muslim country; our system is an Islamic system [but] we have women outnumbering men in workforces, in government and in higher education.” Click here to read…

Russia’s ally Tajikistan emerges as Taliban’s new nemesis

With a growing hub of Afghan resistance figures and political exiles, Tajikistan has emerged as the primary foreign power ready to face down the new Taliban government. Reports of a push to form an alternative Afghan administration in the Tajik capital Dushanbe will only deepen hostilities between the neighbours. Since the Taliban stormed Kabul, the militant group and Tajikistan have not lost time in trading threats. The Taliban accused Tajikistan of interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and moved its special forces to their vast shared border. After the Taliban launched an assault on the Panjshir valley, resistance leader Ahmad Massoud and former vice-president Amrullah Saleh fled their final holdout for Dushanbe, where they joined a growing number of Afghan exiles plotting their next steps. Complicating matters for President Rahmon, however, is that not all Tajiks look to Tajikistan for support. A number of Afghan Tajiks have already sided with the Taliban, and authorities in Dushanbe fear that Afghanistan’s new rulers could use Jamaat Ansarullah – a militant group founded in Afghanistan by Tajik national Amriddin Tabarov in 2010 – as a force against Tajikistan. Click here to read…

Pakistan fears US is targeting its China links as it seeks to settle scores from Afghanistan

Fears are growing in Islamabad that the United States is targeting its plans to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan, as punishment for enabling the Taliban’s return to power in August. Pakistan’s efforts to “reset” relations with the US, so as to avoid being caught up in its intensifying competition with Islamabad’s closest strategic ally China, have been cold-shouldered by the administration of Joe Biden. On September 14, as he was pointedly questioned by angry members of the House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would soon undertake a formal reassessment of its relationship with Pakistan. “This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead – the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years, but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” Blinken said. Pakistan retains its status as a “major non-Nato ally” despite being denied US military assistance since September 2018. Blinken told the Congressional committee that Pakistan had a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours”. Click here to read…

Beijing sends record 52 fighter jets to test Taiwan, raising fear of mishaps

Taiwan’s defence ministry said 52 mainland Chinese fighter jets flew to the self-ruled island’s southwest air defence identification zone on Oct 04, a record number that has raised concerns of unintended incidents between the armed forces. The island said it had scrambled jets and deployed missiles to warn off the mainland military aircraft, including 34 J-16 fighter jets, 12 H-6 bombers and two Su-30 jets. It came after Beijing sent 38 warplanes to Taiwan’s air defence zone on Oct 01, followed by 39 on Oct 02 and 16 on Oct 03. Analysts warned that conflicts between Taiwan and mainland China could surface if the People’s Liberation Army made entries to the island’s southeast ADIZ – a major point of access to Taiwan’s eastern military zone – “a new normal”.Analysts said while the large-scale sorties were a show of force to Taiwan and the United States, they also showed the PLA’s joint combat abilities, including the ability to mobilise warplanes from different military zones on the mainland and to operate at night. Click here to read…

Kishida elected as Japan’s PM, set to call election on October 31

Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to dissolve parliament next week and call an election for October 31, according to the NHK broadcaster. The report came shortly after legislators formally chose Kishida as prime minister on Oct 04. Kishida’s plan, amid widespread expectations for a poll in November, appears to be aimed at exploiting a traditional honeymoon period accorded to new governments and a sharp drop in the number of coronavirus infections. Outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga enjoyed support ratings of about 70 percent soon after taking office about a year ago but was pummelled by criticism of his handling of the pandemic, leading him to make way for a new face to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) through the election. Kishida, 64, a former foreign minister with an image as a low-key consensus builder, beat out three contenders last week to lead the party, ensuring he clinched the post of prime minister as the LDP has a majority in parliament. NHK said that Kishida will dissolve parliament on October 14. Click here to read…

What Kishida’s Cabinet picks tell us

Kishida’s first Cabinet is indicative of the outcomes of the intraparty deal-making that helped elevate him to the country’s top job. Cabinet appointments are tools for managing intraparty politics and have been for decades. A prime minister will use the postings to reward allies, placate or punish adversaries, and satisfy intraparty deals. That’s why it is important to look at not only who gets picked, but which LDP patrons they represent. A deep look at the Cabinet reveals a few key points. First, this is not a “unity Cabinet” — a Cabinet which has near-equal representation across all of the LDP’s institutionalized factions. Instead, this is a Cabinet that reflects all the deals that were made to get Kishida into the party presidency. He rewarded his allies, paid off debts and snubbed rivals. The second point relates to the influence of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. When looking at the proportion of appointments, Abe’s home Hosoda faction came up a bit short, and Aso’s faction actually earned a proportional share to its size in the party. The third point is that Oct 04 was a bad day to be a Taro Kono supporter. Basically, anyone in the Kono camp failed to earn Cabinet-level postings. Click here to read…

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Announces Retirement from Politics

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose brash and authoritarian style has upended governance in the country, said Oct 02 that he intends to retire from politics, indicating he won’t attempt to extend his time in power by seeking the vice presidency. Duterte’s six-year term will end in June, and under the constitution he can’t run for re-election. But Mr. Duterte had accepted his party’s nomination for the vice presidency in the 2022 election. Critics in the Philippines called it an attempt to circumvent the constitution’s one-term limit by providing a backdoor into the presidency if the next president resigned, died or otherwise left office. On Oct 02, Duterte reversed himself, seeming to put to rest the possibility of running for vice president—or any office, now or in the future. “The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino [people] is that I am not qualified, and it would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law,” he said, according to a transcript from the Philippine government’s official newswire. “And today, I announce my retirement from politics.” But political commentators cautioned that he has made similar statements before, only to reconsider. Click here to read…

Saudi Arabia confirms recent talks with Iran

Saudi Arabia held discussions with regional rival Tehran last month as talks to ease tensions continue under Iran’s conservative President Ebrahim Raisi. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said on Oct 03 “the fourth round of talks took place on September 21”. “These discussions are still in the exploratory phase, and we hope that they lay the foundation to address issues between the two sides,” he said in Riyadh during a joint news conference with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. Prince Faisal did not disclose the location of the meeting or the level of representation, while Borrell welcomed the talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman on Oct 04 said talks with Saudi Arabia are being followed up in Baghdad “with the best conditions”. “No pre-conditions have been set by either side for the talks,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a press conference in Tehran, adding that the negotiations have so far been mostly focused on bilateral ties, but have also touched on regional issues. Khatibzadeh also denied reports that a Saudi delegation has travelled to Tehran to prepare for reopening the Saudi embassy. Click here to read…

Iran asked U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion to show good will, Iran official says

Iran’s foreign minister said on Oct 02 that U.S. officials tried to discuss restarting nuclear talks last month, but he insisted Washington must first release $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of good will. Iran has rejected direct talks with the United States, and indirect talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear accord aimed at keeping Iran from being able to develop a nuclear weapon stopped in June. The United States used intermediaries at the United Nations last month to attempt to make contact, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told state television. Iran has been unable to obtain tens of billions of dollars of its assets in foreign banks, mainly from exports of oil and gas, due to U.S. sanctions on its banking and energy sectors. “The Americans tried to contact us through different channels (at the U.N. General Assembly) in New York, and I told the mediators if America’s intentions are serious then a serious indication was needed … by releasing at least $10 billion of blocked money,” the minister said. Click here to read…

Pandora Papers expose wealth of Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s allies

Prominent members of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, donors to his party and family members of the country’s powerful military generals have moved millions of dollars of wealth through offshore companies, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) alleges. Khan, who rose to power in 2018 on the back of promises to arrest Pakistan’s “corrupt” political elites, was not personally named in the newly leaked documents, dubbed the Pandora Papers, which were released late on Oct 03. Two members of Khan’s cabinet – Water Resources Minister Moonis Elahi and Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin – were prominent in the leaks, alongside more than 700 other Pakistani citizens, including family members of several high-ranking military officials, donors to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and opposition political leaders’ families. The ICIJ’s investigation is based on more than 11.9 million confidential files leaked from 14 offshore financial services firms. Ownership of offshore holding companies is not illegal in most countries, and does not indicate wrongdoing, but the instrument is frequently used to avoid tax liability or to maintain secrecy around large financial transactions. Click here to read…

Myanmar junta blocks ASEAN envoy Suu Kyi visit

Myanmar’s junta has said it was unlikely an ASEAN special envoy tasked with facilitating dialogue in the coup-hit country would be allowed to meet ousted pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been under global pressure to help resolve the crisis in member state Myanmar, where more than 1,100 people have been killed in post-coup violence according to a monitoring group. Brunei Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, who was selected as the bloc’s envoy in August after lengthy wrangling, has called for full access to all parties when he visits. But a junta spokesman told AFP on Sept 30 it would be “difficult to allow for meetings with those who are facing trial.” “We will allow for meeting with official organizations,” added spokesman Zaw Min Tun, without giving further details on when Myanmar would give permission for the envoy to visit. Suu Kyi, 76, is on trial for a raft of charges, flouting coronavirus restrictions during polls her party won in a landslide last year, illegally importing walkie talkies and sedition. She faces decades in prison if convicted on all charges. Click here to read…

Sudan thwarts Ethiopian incursion amid protests in east

Sudan’s military says it has repelled an attempted incursion by Ethiopian forces in the border area between the two countries. The Ethiopian forces were forced to retreat from the Umm Barakit area, a military statement said on Oct 03, without giving further details. The head of Sudan’s military, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, told reporters the incident took place on Oct 02. He said it showed how the military was protecting the country in the wake of a coup attempt in Khartoum last week. Colonel Getnet Adane, Ethiopia’s military spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tensions along the border between Sudan and Ethiopia have escalated since the outbreak of a conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region last year that sent tens of thousands of refugees into eastern Sudan. The tensions have focused on an area of fertile farmland known as al-Fashqa, where the border is disputed. Meanwhile, protesters in eastern Sudan shut a pipeline that carries imported crude oil to the capital Khartoum. Protesters from the Beja tribes in eastern Sudan have been shutting ports and blocking roads in protest against what they describe as poor political and economic conditions in the region. Click here to read…

Medical

From Australia to Thailand, vaccine swap deals help ease shortages

As global distribution of coronavirus vaccines remains heavily tilted toward certain wealthy nations, countries are striking bilateral deals to temporarily “swap” extra doses that are close to expiring. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a sharing deal with the U.K. in early September for 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough to fully vaccinate about 8% of the population Down Under. Australia will send the same amount back later this year. It reached a similar agreement with Singapore for 500,000 doses in late August. Beyond helping to rein in the pandemic, such arrangements can benefit both sides — using up shots that would otherwise go to waste, improving bilateral relationships, and bringing countries a step closer to reopening their borders to travel. Canberra hopes that negotiating with non-superpower nations will enable it to access the shots it needs more quickly. Other pairs of countries with widely varying vaccination rates have reached similar agreements. South Korea, which has a full-vaccination rate in the 40s, announced a swap deal in July with Israel, which has fully vaccinated more than 60% of its population. Thailand received shots from Bhutan in August, and Brunei from Singapore in September. Click here to read…

Singapore’s foreign population dips 10.7% on COVID restrictions

Singapore’s population of foreign nationals was down 10.7% in June compared with a year earlier, no thanks to travel restrictions and a weak economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the year, the non-resident population fell from 1.64 million to 1.47 million, largely due to a reduction in foreign employment in Singapore, according to the government’s annual “Population in Brief” report released on Sept 28. This decrease was seen in all categories of work passes, which foreigners need for employment in Singapore. The construction, shipyard and processing sectors, which were hit hard by the pandemic, saw the largest declines in work permit holders. Before the pandemic, Singapore was employing more foreigners on a year-on-year basis. Work pass holders rose by 24,000 from mid-2018 to mid-2019. The number then fell by 47,000 from mid-2019 to mid-2020, as the pandemic started to bite, and that decline has since more than tripled this year. Click here to read…

There May Soon Be a Covid Pill

Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have been hoping for an oral antiviral that could prevent recently infected patients from getting sicker. The FDA approved Gilead’s remdesivir for emergency use in hospitalized patients last spring, but the intravenous drug isn’t available to those not sick enough to be admitted. The National Institutes of Health prioritized development of monoclonal antibodies, which have helped many patients. But they are difficult to produce and distribute. Demand this summer exceeded supply, so the feds have rationed treatments. The FDA and NIH missed the chance to accelerate anti-virals like molnupiravir, which creates errors in the machinery of the virus copying code. An early-stage trial this spring showed that molnupiravir rapidly reduced the amount of virus in patients. Merck has also signed licensing agreements with generic manufacturers to accelerate the pill’s availability world-wide. Manufacturers in low-income countries don’t need special expertise and supervision to produce the pills, unlike with the Covid vaccines. Molnupiravir can be easily distributed in poorer countries.An Indian generic manufacturer in July announced positive results from its own molnupiravir trial, and Canada in August began a rolling review. Click here to read…

VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 01-15 September 2021

DEFENCE

  • Kazakhstan joint military exercise Kazind-21.
  • Indian army to participate in multi-lateral exercise Zapad 2021 in Russia.
  • India & US sign project agreement for air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle.
  • Pacific air chiefs’ symposium 2021.
  • 28th edition of Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX).
  • Royal Australian Navy and Indian Navy commence bilateral exercise – ‘Ausindex’.
  • Delegation of Financial powers to Armed Forces for Revenue Procurement.
  • Cabinet approves procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft for Indian Air Force.
  • Inauguration of emergency landing facility.
  • DRDO hands over air defence missile (MRSAM) System to Indian Air Force.
  • First India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
  • India–Africa Defence Dialogue to be held alongside every DefExpo.
  • 6th edition of Exercise “Peaceful Mission”.
  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh addresses 18th India-US Economic Summit.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

  • India and Russia discussed bilateral cooperation on security issues.
Africa
Nigeria
  • Around 6,000 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered in last few weeks: claimed Nigerian armed forces.
Afghanistan
  • “Al-Qa’ida will rebuild in Afghanistan,” said CIA’s former Dy. Director Morell.
  • “Al-Qa’ida may seek a comeback in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan,” said the US Defense Secretary Austin.
  • “The UN must not give recognition to Taliban-led government in Afghanistan,” said Afghan envoy to the UN.
Pakistan
  • “Pakistan is involved in harbouring Taliban and the Haqqanis,” said the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • Pakistan continues to develop culture of violence, claimed India at the UN.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • NH-44 is high on target of JeM and LeT: warned intelligence agencies.
  • Security forces arrested a HM terrorist from Pulwama district.
  • Pakistan’s ISI exporting IS-KP operatives to PoK for a major attack in Kashmir, claimed intelligence reports.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • In 2020, Maoist violence highest in Chhattisgarh: NCRB data.
  • Police arrested senior Maoist leader from Odisha.
  • 52 Maoists, including sympathisers, surrendered in Telangana.
Islamic Extremism
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against three IS operatives in Kerala module case.
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against an IS operative in ‘al-Hind Bengaluru module’ case.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • NIA Special Court framed charges against eight KLF terrorists in connection to killing of Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu, SC awardee.
North-East Region Insurgency
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against five ULFA-I operatives in 2019 Grenade Blast case.

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

  • “Cyber-attacks increasingly targeting Australia’s Critical National Infrastructure”, claimed ACSC.
  • Indian start-up firm comes up with a device to prevent cyber-attacks.
  • US keen to collaborate with Telangana State government in cyber security.
Defence
Indian army to participate in multi-lateral exercise Zapad 2021 in Russia

A 200 personnel contingent of Indian Army is participating in Exercise ZAPAD 2021, a Multi Nation exercise being held at Nizhniy, Russia from 03 to 16 September 2021. ZAPAD 2021 is one of the theatre level exercises of Russian Armed Forces and will focus primarily on operations against terrorists. Over a dozen countries from Eurasian and South Asian Region will participate in this signature event. The NAGA Battalion group participating in the exercise will feature an all Arms combined task force. The exercise aims to enhance military and strategic ties amongst the participating nations while they plan & execute this exercise.

Kazakhstan joint military exercise Kazind-21

The India – Kazakhstan joint military exercise “KAZIND-21” commenced on 01 Sep 2021 at training node Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan. This is the 5th Edition of Annual bilateral joint exercise of both Armies and will continue till 10th September 2021. The fourth edition of the exercise was held at Pithoragarh, India in Sep 2019. The contingent comprises 120 troops from Kazakhstan and 90 soldiers from the Indian Army. Both the contingents will share their expertise and skills in the field of counter terror operations. The exercise will culminate in a 48 hours joint validation exercise scheduled on 08 & 09 September 2021. Click here to read…

India & US sign project agreement for air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle

Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence signed a Project Agreement (PA) for Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) under the Joint Working Group Air Systems in the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) on July 30, 2021. The PA for ALUAV falls under the Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Memorandum of Agreement between Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence, which was first signed in January 2006 and renewed in January 2015. The agreement is a significant step towards deepening defence technology collaboration between the two nations through co-development of defence equipment. Click here to read…

Pacific Air Chiefs’ symposium 2021

Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) attended the Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2021 (PACS-21) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii from 30 Aug to 02 Sep 21. The event themed “Enduring Cooperation towards Regional Stability” was attended by Air Chiefs from countries in the Indo-Pacific region. CAS was nominated as the Dean for the Symposium.

The Symposium saw deliberations through panel discussions, table top exercises and keynote addresses on topics ranging from aspects of Regional Security and the significance of Air Domain Awareness, to cooperation amongst Air Forces for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations.In addition to participation in the symposium, CAS met General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force and General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Commander, Pacific Air Forces. He also held bilateral and multilateral meetings on defence cooperation and security with Air Chiefs from eleven other countries. Click here to read…

28th edition of Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX)

The 28th edition of Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) was conducted from 02 to 04 Sep 21.The Indian Navy, Singapore Navy participated with their ships and four F-16 fighter aircraft of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) also participated in the exercise during the Air Defence Drills. Click here to read…

Royal Australian Navy and Indian Navy commence bilateral exercise – ‘Ausindex’

The Indian Navy Task Group participated in the 4th edition of AUSINDEX from 06 to 10 Sep 21. Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac Class Frigate, HMAS Warramunga which participated in Exercise MALABAR along with the IN units is also part of the exercise. This edition of AUSINDEX includes complex surface, sub-surface and air operations between ships, submarines, helicopters and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the participating Navies.

The participating Indian Naval Ships Shivalik and Kadmatt are the latest indigenously designed and built Guided Missile Stealth Frigate and Anti-Submarine Corvette respectively.

The exercise is a true representation of Joint Guidance signed by the Chief of the Naval Staff, IN and Chief of Navy, RAN on 18 Aug 21. This important document is aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ between the two nations and aims to further consolidate shared commitment to regional and global security challenges promoting peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Click here to read…

Delegation of Financial powers to Armed Forces for Revenue Procurement

Raksha Mantri released in New Delhi on September 07, 2021 order on Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services (DFPDS) 2021, providing enhanced delegation of Revenue Procurement powers to the Armed Forces. The DFPDS 2021 aims to empower field formations; focus on operational preparedness; promote ease of doing business and enhance jointness among the Services.

The enhanced delegation of Financial Powers to functionaries in Service Headquarters and lower formations would result in quicker decision making at all levels leading to better planning and operational preparedness of the Services in a quicker time frame and optimum utilisation of resources. Some of the highlights are:-

  • Financial powers devolved to field formations; focus on operational preparedness; promote ease of doing business & jointness among Services
  • Two times general enhancement for Competent Financial Authorities; Up to 5-10 times at field formations in certain Schedules
  • 10% increase in Delegated Financial Powers of Vice Chiefs of Services
  • Up to three times increase in Schedules related to Indigenisation/R&D to achieve ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’
  • Enabling provision of Emergency Financial Powers to Field formations below Command level for Defence Services incorporated in Emergency Powers Schedule for ops immediate military necessities

Click here to read….

Cabinet approves procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft for Indian Air Force

Today, Cabinet Committee on Security approved the procurement of fifty six C-295MW transport aircraft from M/s Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain for the Indian Air Force. C-295MW aircraft is a transport aircraft of 5-10 Tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of IAF. Sixteen aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months of signing of the contract and forty aircraft will be manufactured in India by TATA Consortium within ten years of signing of the contract. Click here to read…

Inauguration of emergency landing facility

The Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) was inaugurated for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Satta-Gandhav stretch on NH-925A near Barmer, Rajasthan on September 09, 2021. Two Union Ministers travelled to Barmer on C-130J aircraft to inaugurate the facility. They also witnessed aircraft operations on the ELF, which has been constructed in just 19 months by M/S GHV India Pvt. Ltd. under the supervision of IAF and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). This is the first time that a National Highway has been used for emergency landing of aircraft of Indian Air Force. This landing strip will be able to facilitate landing of all types of IAF aircraft. Click here to read…

DRDO hands over air defence missile (MRSAM) System to Indian Air Force

First deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System was handed over to Indian Air Force (IAF) in the presence of Raksha Mantri at Air Force Station, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on September 09, 2021. The MRSAM (IAF) is an advanced network centric combat Air Defence System developed jointly by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with the Indian industry comprising of private and public sectors including MSMEs.
Key Highlights:

  • MRSAM provides air defence against aerial threats like fighter aircraft, UAVs, guided and unguided munitions & cruise missiles
  • Capable of engaging multiple targets at ranges up to 70 kilometres
  • Indigenously developed rocket motor & control system for achieving high manoeuvrability
  • State-of-the-art missile system
First India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

India hosted the inaugural India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on 11 September 2021 in New Delhi. H.E. Ms. Marise Payne, Foreign Minister, and H.E. Mr. Peter Dutton, Defence Minister, of Australia were visiting India on 10-12 September 2021 to take part in the Dialogue. From the Indian side, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar lead the delegation which comprised of officials from the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs. The inaugural 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is being held pursuant to the elevation of India-Australia bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit on 04 June 2020. The agenda for the Dialogue covered a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. The RM in his interaction with the Australian Defence Minister highlighted the following issues in his address.

  • Wide-ranging discussions on bilateral defence cooperation as well as regional issues
  • Both sides agree to work jointly to realise full potential of India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  • Partnership based on shared vision of free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region
  • Military engagements to be expanded
  • Australian industry invited to take advantage of India’s liberalised FDI policies

Click here to read…

India–Africa Defence Dialogue to be held alongside every Def Expo

India proposes to institutionalise the India Africa Defence Dialogue during successive Def Expos to be held once every two years. Institutionalisation of the India Africa Defence Dialogue will help building on the existing partnerships between African countries & India and to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagements including areas like capacity building, training, cyber security, maritime security and counter terrorism.

It has been decided that Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses shall be the knowledge partner of India Africa Defence Dialogue and will assist in providing necessary support for enhanced defence cooperation between India and Africa. It has also been decided that Raksha Mantri will host the Defence Ministers of African Nations in the next India – Africa Defence Dialogue on the sidelines of the Def Expo that is scheduled to be held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat in March 2022. The broad theme of this India Africa Defence Dialogue will be ‘India – Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’.

6th edition of Exercise “Peaceful Mission”

Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is a Multilateral Exercise, which is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states. The 6th edition of Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of South West Russia from 13 to 25 September 2021. The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member states and to enhance abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents.

The Indian military contingent comprising of an all arms combined force of 200 personnel to include 38 personnel from the Indian Air Force is participating in the Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION -2021. The Indian contingent was inducted to the exercise area by two IL-76 aircrafts. Click here to read…

Raksha Mantri (RM) addresses the 18th India-US Economic Summit

Delivering the inaugural address at the 18th India-US Economic Summit, on the theme ‘Bouncing Back – Resilient Recovery Path Post COVID-19’ organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce through video conferencing on September 15, 2021. The RM highlighted the defence sector as an integral part of not just the security but overall growth of the country, RM stated the initiatives taken by the Government have transformed India into a strong and reliable investment destination. He said, India is now home to stable and secure government which focuses on economic growth through series of reforms. He added that robust domestic demand and availability of talented young work force & innovation make India a major investment destination.

The RM called upon the industry leaders to focus on transfer of technology through joint ventures to realise the country’s true potential in defence sector. The foreign OEMs can set up manufacturing facilities individually or partner with Indian companies through a JV or technology agreement to capitalise on the ‘Make in India’ initiative, he added. The RM exhorted them to begin the process of Research and Development with the young minds of the country which will increase the linkages among the industries and create an ecosystem through equal contribution from academia and research.

The RM emphasised that there is a lot of scope for the American and Indian defence Industries for co-production and co-development, adding that Indian industry can supply components to American Industries. Click here to read…

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

India and Russia discussed bilateral cooperation on security issues

On 08 September 2021, India’s National Security Adviser (NSA)— Ajit Doval and Russia’s Secretary of the Security Council— Nikolai Patrushev met in New Delhi and discussed deepening the bilateral cooperation on security issues and intensifying the joint efforts on special services and military establishments, with emphasis on anti-terror track, combating illegal migration and narcotics trafficking.

The humanitarian and migration crisis in Afghanistan, including the prospects for the India-Russia joint efforts for creating the launch of peaceful settlement process on the basis of an intra-Afghan dialogue was also discussed. Click here to read…

Africa
Nigeria
Around 6,000 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered in last few weeks: claimed Nigerian armed forces

In a statement released on 02 September 2021, the Nigerian armed forces informed that in last few weeks, more than 5,860 Boko Haram terrorists, including commanders, have surrendered with their families in the North-East zone. “Out of surrendered terrorists, 565 had been handed over to the government of North-Eastern Borno State for further management after thorough profiling”, said Spokesperson for the Nigerian armed forces— Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko. Click here to read…

Afghanistan
“Al-Qa’ida will rebuild in Afghanistan,” said CIA’s former Dy. Director Morell

Addressing an online forum hosted by the United States (US) Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia on 08 September, the former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—Michael Morell emphasised that the Taliban will provide safe-haven to al-Qa’ida and the latter intent to build its capability to attack the US at home. “Counter-terrorism efforts fall into a pattern in which their (al-Qa’ida’s) capabilities can be easily degraded by a focused effort, but easily rebuilds when the focus fades,” said Morell. Click here to read…

“Al-Qa’ida may seek a comeback in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan,” said the US Defense Secretary Austin

On 09 September 2021, the United States (US) Secretary of Defense— Llyod Austin said that the al-Qa’ida group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack the US 20 years ago, may attempt to regenerate there following the US withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power. “We have put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that happen”, Secretary of State Austin said, referring to the possibility of al-Qa’ida using Afghanistan as a staging base in the future. Click here to read…

“The UN must not give recognition to Taliban-led government in Afghanistan,” said Afghan envoy to the UN

On 09 September 2021, the Afghanistan Ambassador to the United Nations (UN)— Ghulam Isaczai urged that the UN should not recognise “caretaker” government formed by the Taliban which overthrew the democratically elected government in mid-August this year. “I….ask you [the UN] to withhold any recognition of any government in Afghanistan, unless it is truly inclusive and formed on the basis of the free will of the people,” said Ambassador Isaczai. Click here to read…

Pakistan
“Pakistan is involved in harbouring Taliban and the Haqqanis,” said the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Speaking at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 13 September 2021, the United States (US) Secretary of State—Antony Blinken said that Pakistan has harboured the members of the Taliban, including terrorists of Haqqani Network (HQN), and needs to “line-up” with a broad majority of the international community regarding Afghanistan.

Pakistan has denied its deep ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the group overtly and covertly. It (Pakistan) is also a nation where many senior Taliban leaders, including slain al-Qa’ida leader— Osama bin Laden, have escaped to after the US-led War on Terror in Afghanistan in 2001. Click here to read…

Pakistan continues to develop culture of violence, claimed India at the UN

In the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 07 September 2021, the First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN)— Vidisha Maitra said that Pakistan continues to foment a “culture of violence” at home and across the border; along with using the UN platform for hate speech against India. We dismiss and condemn all such efforts. Click here to read…

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
NH-44 is high on target of JeM and LeT: warned intelligence agencies

The Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) send intelligence inputs to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) indicating that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are planning to carry out a major attack along the National Highway-44 (NH-44) in Srinagar—from Qazigund to Khanabal.

Also, there have been reports of Masood Azhar (JeM’s leader) meeting Taliban’s top leaders in Kandahar in mid-August seeking support for anti-India operations. In 2021, around 272 youths from Kashmir went missing, and it is estimated that at least 82 of them have joined terrorist groups in the Valley, with 42 being recruited by LeT. Click here to read…

Security forces arrested a HM terrorist from Pulwama district

In a joint operation on 09 September 2021, the 50 Rashtriya Rifle (RR), Awantipora police, and the 185th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), arrested a Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorist— Shahid Ahmed Khanday, from Androosa Khrew area of Awantipora area in Pulwama district.

During the search operation, security forces observed some suspicious movement in the area and noticed that a person was trying to flee; however, he was apprehended by the security forces personnel. Click here to read…

Pakistan’s ISI exporting IS-KP operatives to PoK for a major attack in Kashmir, claimed intelligence reports

The intelligence reports claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been exporting the Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) terrorists into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with aim to carry out major terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

These IS-KP terrorists were released from Afghan jails and returned to Pakistan after the Taliban overthrew the Ghani government in Afghanistan, amidst the United States (US) withdrawal from the country. Click here to read…

Left-Wing Extremism
In 2020, Maoist violence highest in Chhattisgarh: NCRB data

According to the annual report released by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), on 14 September 2021, Chhattisgarh recorded the highest number of Maoist-related crimes in 2020. Followed by Jharkhand (133 cases registered) and Maharashtra (32 cases registered), Chhattisgarh topped in murders, loot, attempted murders, and arson by Maoists. Click here to read…

Police arrested senior Maoist leader from Odisha

On 14 September 2021, Odisha police arrested senior Maoist leader and Special Zonal Committee member of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC)—Dubbasi Shankar aka Mahender, from Koraput district in Odisha.

Reportedly, Dubbasi had moved out of the jungle terrain to undergo some medical treatment in Koraput district, where he was arrested by police’s special team. Click here to read…

52 Maoists, including sympathisers, surrendered in Telangana

On 09 September 2021, 52 Maoists, including village committee members and sympathisers, from four border villages of Charlamandal of Bhadradri-Kothagudem district in Telangana, surrendered before Superintendent of Police (SP).

Among those who surrendered were five women and seven minors from Pusuguppa, Battigudem, Bathinapalli, and Chennapuram villages. In November 2020, 33 Maoists, including village committee members, had surrendered before police. Click here to read…

Islamic Extremism
NIA filed charge-sheet against three IS operatives in Kerala module case

On 08 September 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet against three Islamic State (IS) operatives—Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya, Mushab Anwar, and Rahees Rasheed. The case was registered on 05 March 2021, pertaining to terrorist activities of Mohammed Ameen and his associates. Mohammed Ameen have been running various IS propaganda on different social media platforms, including Telegram, Hoop, and Instagram. Click here to read…

NIA filed charge-sheet against an IS operative in ‘al-Hind Bengaluru module’ case

On 03 September 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary charge-sheet against Shihabudeenaka Sirajudeenaka Khalid aka Rajesh—an Islamic State (IS) operative, in connection with ‘al-Hind Bengaluru module’ case.

On 10 January 2020, the case was registered against Mehboob Pasha aka Abdullah, and 16 others, in several cases related to terrorism, and murder of Hindu leaders. Investigation has revealed that Shihabudeen was part of larger conspiracy and had collected & hand-over the arms & ammunition in Mumbai to other operatives to be used in the murder of the Special Sub-Inspector (SSI) Y Wilson in Tamil Nadu police. Click here to read…

Islamic Extremism inspired Extremism
NIA Special Court framed charges against eight KLF terrorists in connection to killing of Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu, SC awardee

On 31 August 2021, the Special Judge for NIA (National Investigation Agency) cases, Mohali, framed charges against eight Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) terrorists— i) Sukhraj Singh aka Sukhaaka Lakhanpal, ii) Ravinder Singh aka Ravi Dhillon, iii) Akashdeep Arora aka Dhaliwal, iv) Jagroop Singh, v) Sukhdeep Singh aka Buraaka Bhura, vi) Gurjit Singh aka Bha, vii) Inderjit Singh, and viii) Sukhmeet Pal Singh aka Sukhaka SukhBhikariwal, in connection with murder of Comrade Balwinder Singh, Shaurya Chakra awardee. On 16 October 2020, two unidentified persons killed Comrade Balwinder Singh at his residence in Bhikhiwind, Taran Tarn district in Punjab. Click here to read…

North-East Region Insurgency
NIA filed charge-sheet against five ULFA-I operatives in 2019 Grenade Blast case

On 14 September 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary charge-sheet against five operatives of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) in connection with 2019 Grenade Blast case. In 2019, two ULFA-I operatives threw grenade at a police party near Central Mall, RGB road, Guwahati, in which 12 people were injured. The self-styled commander-in-chief of ULFA-I—Paresh Baruah, took responsibility of the attack.

The charge-sheeted accused are identified as—Pappu Koch Bokoliyal aka BijoyAsom, Amrit Ballav Goswami, Paresh Baruah aka Paresh Asom, Arunodoy Dahotiya aka Bijit Gogoi, and Munna Baruah aka Munna Asom. Click here to read…

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

“Cyber-attacks increasingly targeting Australia’s Critical National Infrastructure”, claimed the ACSC

In a report published on 15 September 2021, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) informed that a quarter of cyber attacks reported to the Australian security officials over the past year have targeted the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and essential services, including healthcare, food distribution, and energy. The ransomware attacks increased by 15 per cent in the 2020-2021 financial year, as compared to the previous financial year. The ACSC received more than 67,500 reports of cyber-crime of all types in 2020-2021. Click here to read…

Indian start-up firm comes up with a device to prevent cyber-attacks

A Pune-based cyber security start-up firm—Elementik Technologies has launched “Byteseal”— a device to prevent identity-related cyber-attacks, such as phishing and credential thefts. The start-up incubated with Science and Technology Park in Pune and has raised ₹ 1 crore through the Park’s seed-funding scheme, supported by the Department of Science and Technology.

“Byteseal is a secure authentication device which helps subscribers manage their passwords in a more secure and simple way. The device carries the world’s most secure capacitive fingerprint sensor, wireless connectivity to phone and computer via Bluetooth technology and has a long-lasting rechargeable battery up to three months,” said Nikhilesh Wani—founder of the Elementik Technologies. Click here to read…

US keen to collaborate with Telangana State government in cyber security

The United States (US) government expressed its interest to explore ties with Telangana State government in cyber security areas, mainly crypto currency forensics, capacity building, and technology transfer. During her visit to India in August 2021, the US Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) for Cyber & Emerging Technologies— Anne Neuberger exchanged thoughts on potential cooperation with the State government of Telangana, represented by Industries & Commerce and IT Principal Secretary— Jayesh Ranjan.

Telangana State has been a forerunner in cyber security with dedicated efforts such as State policy, Hyderabad Security Cluster (HSC) and Cyber Security Centre of Excellence (CSCE). Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read

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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VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: September 23, 2021

Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Climate, Covid-19 Dominate UNGA: Tolo News

In the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which is ongoing in New York City, the political situation in Afghanistan, COVID-19 and issues around climate change dominated the summit. Click here to read

Five Killed in Five Attacks in Jalalabad: Tolo News

Jalalabad city in the eastern province of Nangarhar witnessed five security incidents on Wednesday morning. Four explosions in different parts of the city took the lives of two people and injured three others, eyewitnesses told TOLOnews. Click here to read

Bakhtarian Treasure is safe and preserved in Kabul: Taliban: The Khaama Press

Officials of the ministry of information and culture said that the Bakhtarian Treasure is kept in Kabul and assured of its full safety and security. Click here to read

Taliban asks UN to accept their permanent representative: The Khaama Press

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a letter to the United Nations said that the spokesperson of their political office in Doha, Sohail Shaheen to be accepted as the new permanent representative of Afghanistan to the UN. Click here to read

Intl-Community should engage with Taliban, prevent its isolation: Qatar: The Khaama Press

Qatari Emir Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani called on the international community to get engaged with the Taliban and provide the country with humanitarian aid so that they prevent the country’s isolation. Click here to read

Kabul Restaurants Owned, Staffed by Women Now Closed: Tolo News

Women-owned businesses, especially restaurants and cafes, have remained closed for the past month since the Taliban entered Kabul city. Click here to read

Bangladesh
E-commerce transactions hit five-month low- The Daily Star

Appetite for purchases through online platforms declined in July from a month ago, as people became cautious in placing orders when a series of scams centring e-commerce companies started coming to the light. Click here to read

Local Body Polls: Uncontested wins, rebels bug AL- The Daily Star

The ruling Awami League finds itself in a strange predicament over local body polls. Click here to read

Bangladesh to export 2,080 tonnes of hilsha to India- The Daily Star

The commerce ministry today gave go-ahead to 52 companies to export 2,080 tonnes of hilsa fish to India by October 10 this year. Click here to read

Another satellite on the cards- Dhaka Tribune

Government encouraged by domestic success of Bangabandhu-1, efforts to find foreign buyers underway. Click here to read

ADB revises Bangladesh’s GDP outlook down to 6.8%- Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh remains one of the few countries to achieve commendable economic growth amid the pandemic, says ADB. Click here to read

US declares $180m assistance for Rohingyas; total reaches $1.5b- Dhaka Tribune

Funding also provides support to members of the local host community in Bangladesh.Click here to read

Global inaction over Rohingya repatriation shocks Bangladesh: PM- Asian Age

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has demanded intensified global actions with “real urgency” to repatriate Rohingyas. Click here to read

Declare Covid vaccines ‘global public good’: PM- Asian Age

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called to declare the Covid-19 vaccines as ‘global public good’. Click here to read

5G to be launched at end of 2021: Joy- Observer

Prime Minister’s Information and Communication Technology Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has revealed that the launching of 5G service in Bangladesh will take place at the end of this yearClick here to read

Bangladesh reports 1,376 fresh cases, 36 deaths from COVID-19- The Independent

Bangladesh today reported 1,376 COVID-19 cases while the coronavirus claimed overnight 36 lives. Click here to read

Bangladesh Bank relaxes forex rules in export, import- Financial Express

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has brought relaxation in foreign-exchange regulations in export, import, remittance and other trade services to overcome economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to read

SAARC calls off FM-level talks over Afghan representation row- New Age

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation on Wednesday called off a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers due to a lack of support from some member countries. Click here to read

Bhutan
Hydropower generation decreases by over 12 percent- Kuensel

Hydropower, which has remained the bedrock of the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, recorded a 12.7 percent decrease in generation in the first eight months of 2021, compared to a corresponding time period last year. Click here to read

Graduates perform poorly in civil service preliminary exams- Kuensel

Close to 70 percent of graduates who appeared in the Bhutan Civil Service Examination’s (BCSE) preliminary examination (PE) did not qualify for the main examination. Click here to read

GoI finalises commitment to allocate Nu 45B for the 12th Five Year Plan- Kuensel

Foreign Secretary Kinga Singye and Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, signed the minutes of the third Bhutan-India Development Cooperation Talks yesterday. Click here to read

PM hosts reception to mark 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to UN- BBS

The Prime Minister hosted a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the United Nations yesterday. Bhutan formally became the 128th member of the UN in 1971. Click here to read

Finance minister to assume roles of Chair and Vice-Chair for the World Bank’s Small States Forum- BBS

The finance minister Namgay Tshering will step in as the Chair of Small States Forum and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group. He is the country’s first finance minister to assume the roles. Click here to read

Maldives
Addu Police Academy is not an Indian asset, it will be operated by the Police: Ambassador- The Edition

The Indian Ambassador to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir said that the Police Academy being developed in Addu with grant aid from India is not an Indian asset but rather belongs to the Maldivian police. Click here to read

Ali Waheed: Not guilty, is being set up- The Edition

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, accused of rape and sexually assaulting employees while he was in office, stated on Monday that he did not commit any of the crimes he has been accused of. Click here to read

Cardiac center services resume at Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital- MVAVAS

Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital (KRC)’s Cardiac Centre services have been resumed. Click here to read

Aasandha to discontinue COVID-19 easements from October-MVAVAS

Aasandha has brought changes to the new regulations it introduced to ease COVID-19 difficulties. Click here to read

BML Islamic upgrades home improvement facility to include cash payments-MVAVAS

Bank of Maldives (BML)’s Islamic Branch has upgraded its ‘Home Improvement Financing’ facility for social housing flat recipients to include cash payments. Click here to read

UNGA statement testament to Maldives’ prowess in the global community-MVAVAS

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that being able to address the presidency of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in Maldives’ mother tongue, Dhivehi, is a testament to Maldives’ successes as a small, sovereign, island state. Click here to read

Maldives will continue to call for full recognition of Palestine: Pres-MVAVAS

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said the Government and the people of Maldives stand firmly and resolutely with the Palestinian people. Click here to read

Myanmar
Thousands of civilians flee Myanmar town after military clash with rebels: The Guardian

Thousands have fled a town in western Myanmar after days of fighting between anti-junta dissidents and the military, during which soldiers bombed civilian homes, according to residents and mediaClick here to read

Myanmar Junta’s Internet Blackout Violates Residents’ Rights: The Irrawaddy

The Myanmar junta’s continuous blocking of the internet in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township and townships in Sagaing Region is increasing security concerns and violating the socio-economic rights of residents, say locals.https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-juntas-internet-blackout-violates-residents-rights.html” target=”_blank”>Click here to read

Suu Kyi pleads ‘not guilty’ as junta court indicts her on incitement charges : Myanmar Now

A military council court in Naypyitaw indicted detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday for incitement under Section 505b of the Penal Code, according to her legal defence team. Click here to read

Nepal
Narayan Khadka is the new foreign affairs minister of Nepal- Online Khabar

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has appointed his Nepali Congress party’s member Narayan Khadka as the foreign affairs minister of his cabinet on Wednesday. Click here to read

Nepal-China border ‘dispute’: Govt team busy visiting border pillars in Humla- Online Khabar

The border monitoring team of the Ministry of Home Affairs deployed to study the alleged Nepal-China border dispute has reached Hilsa in Humla after visiting a border pillar at Limi Lapcha area in the district. Click here to read

New rule may prevent conflicts of interest in user groups- Kathmandu Post

Elected officials, office-bearers of political parties and government staff, among others, may be denied seats on user committees for public projects. Click here to read

Deuba faces censure from own party over Cabinet expansion- Kathmandu Post

The ruling coalition, despite a series of meetings, has failed to provide names for ministerial posts, earning bad repute for the government. Click here to read

1251 new Covid-19 cases surface on Wednesday, active caseload stands at 21139- Himalaya Post

Nepal’s coronavirus caseload reached 787,828 on Wednesday with 1,251 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours. Click here to read

Human trafficking cases increasing amid coronavirus pandemic in Sudurpaschim- Himalaya Post

Cases related to human trafficking have increased amid the coronavirus pandemic in Sudurpaschim province. Click here to read

Chinese President Xi, PM Li, UNSG extend best wishes to Nepal- Himalaya

Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s Premier Li Keqiang, and United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have extended their best wishes to the head of the state and the head of the government in Nepal. Click here to read

40% Of Valley People Fully Vaccinated For COVID-19- Rising Nepal

With the vaccination campaign as the first priority of government, 40 per cent of people in the Kathmandu Valley have already received both doses of vaccine. Click here to read

Pakistan
Tarin unveils steps to curb imports ahead of IMF talks: Dawn

Speaking at a hurriedly called news conference along with prime minister’s special assistant Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and Minister of State for Information Furrukh Habib, the finance minister said the government would immediately reduce the prices of vegetable ghee, sugar and wheat across the country. Click here to read

China’s no to coal plants raises questions about $50bn investment: Dawn

China’s pledge to stop building coal-fired power plants overseas could cull $50 billion of investment as it slashes future carbon emissions, analysts said. Click here to read

Taliban apologise to Pakistan over flag removal incident at Torkham border: The Express Tribune

The interim government in Afghanistan on Wednesday apologised to Pakistan over a flags’ removal incident from aid trucks at the Torkham border, calling it “regrettable”. Click here to read

Pakistan wants better ties with US: Qureshi: The Express Tribune

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Pakistan wants a strong relationship with the US beyond counter-terrorism and Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country. Click here to read

Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan conclude military drills: ISPR: The Express Tribune

A two-week long trilateral exercise between military contingents of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan in Baku has concluded, said a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Wednesday.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/2321392/pakistan-turkey-azerbaijan-conclude-military-drills-ispr” target=”_blank”>Click here to read

Stop supporting crumbling govt, Nawaz asks institutions: The News

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged the institutions to stop shouldering the government, which is about to fall. Click here to read

National security is empowerment of people: Moeed: The News

Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Wednesday said the government was pursuing economic security which ultimately would contribute to national security and people’s welfareClick here to read

ADB lowers GDP growth forecast for SL and rest of developing Asia – Daily FT

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered Sri Lanka’s 2021 GDP growth forecast to 3.4% from 4.1% estimated in the April. Click here to read

1,342 persons test positive for COVID-19 – Daily FT

The detection of 1,342 COVID-19 patients yesterday brought the country’s COVID-19 case count to 508,672. Click here to read

SAARC meet cancelled as Pakistan insists on Taliban participation – Ceylon Today

A meeting of foreign ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, slated to be held on Saturday in New York, has been cancelled. 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.
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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.
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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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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.
Click here to read…

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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