VIF Neighbourhood News Digest – December 09, 2022

Facing Intl Condemnation, Islamic Emirate Defends Sharia Executions: Tolo News

Following widespread reactions over a recent execution, the Islamic Emirate said that the execution of guilty people is a divine command and that no one should be concerned about it. A spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said that the execution, which happened on Wednesday in the western province of Farah, was carried out after many investigations and assessments.

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Afghanistan Needs Further International Aid to Avoid Economic Crisis: The Khaama Press

According to an official statement by the Taliban Central Bank, the Afghan interim administration so far has received more than 1 billion and 700 million USD in cash mostly in the format of international aid. “Due to the prevailing worsening economic and humanitarian situations, the aforementioned amount is not enough to alleviate the negative impacts of the existing conditions on ordinary people’s lives. Therefore, more international aid is required to cope with the ongoing economic challenges,” the Central Bank’s spokesperson said.

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Making Bangladesh more investor-friendly – Daka Tribune

It is undeniable that Bangladesh has made exceptional progress over the last many years, especially considering its status as a least developing country. As we move closer to graduating from that status, however, we must acknowledge the need — now, more than ever — for foreign investment, in order to boost our economy further.’
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India and its neighbours: New direction in South Asia? – Dhaka Tribune

India’s influence on Bangladesh and the rest of South Asia only looks to be increasing…Along with the growth of the Indian economy, the strategic balance will also increase. China, however, is likely to be against India’s economic growth.Any potentially offensive action by China is likely to destabilize the Indian growth trajectory.
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A competition of errors – The Daily Star

After 51 years of Bangladesh’s existence and 32 years of unbroken democratic rule – however flawed – we are proving to ourselves and to the world that we, as a polity, have not matured enough to settle even minor disputes peacefully with those who oppose us. An otherwise simple issue of where BNP should hold its rally has transformed itself into a situation where the public is in full uncertainty as to how the immediate future will unfold.
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Wasting no time on waste – Kuensel Online

Waste is the biggest problem facing the country today. As a country that has been recognised as environment-conscious, the amount of waste fly around is ironic, and, embarrassing. Waste is an issue in Bhutan because of the deeply-seated culture. Waste is an issue of serious concern because a large number of our people are uneducated. Waste also deserves sober treatment because more than laws, rules, and regulations, we need practical solutions.
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FAO supports projects to strengthen food systems and water management – Kuensel Online

High dependency on food imports, constraints to agriculture production, strong rural-urban migration and increasing fallow land are some aspects of Bhutan’s current food system. The food systems project aims to transform agri-food systems at the farm, landscape and value-chain levels.
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Maldives will uphold the principles of the SAARC Charter: Pres Solih – Avas

The government has assured that the Maldives will always uphold the principles of the SAARC Charter. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gave the assurance in a message to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)’s Secretary-General Esala Ruwan Weerakoon on the occasion of SAARC Charter Day. SAARC Charter Day is celebrated on December 8 every year.
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RBI signs Currency Swap Agreement with Maldives Monetary Authority – News Deal

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a Currency Swap Agreement with the Maldives Monetary Authority under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework. This agreement will enable the Maldives authority to make drawals in multiple tranches up to a maximum of 200 million dollars from the RBI. The agreement will provide swap support as a backstop line of funding for short-term foreign exchange liquidity requirements.
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Myanmar Junta Receives New Thai Ambassador – The Irrawaddy

Thailand’s new ambassador to Myanmar Mongkol Visitstump presented his credentials to junta boss Min Aung Hlaing on Thursday before holding separate talks with deputy junta leader Soe Win and foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin. The new Thai ambassador and Min Aung Hlaing discussed cooperation to boost border trade and investment in Myanmar, and development of its tourism industry, according to junta media.
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UN urges Southeast Asia governments to rescue stranded Rohingya – Aljazeera

The United Nations Refugee Agency has urged countries in Southeast Asia to rescue some 200 Rohingya refugees whose unseaworthy boat has been reported drifting in the Andaman Sea. The UNCHR said in a statement on Thursday that it had received reports that the Rohingya had been stranded on a boat off the coast of Thailand since its engines failed on December 1.
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15 killed in a shootout between drug gang and Thai security forces at Thai-Myanmar border – BNI Online

Thai border security forces reported that they intercepted a drug- trafficking gang and a 10minute shoot-out occurred along the Thai- Shan State border, killing 15 gang members according to a report in the Chiang Mai News. Thai border security were conducting inspections at Mumt Pin Gate No.12 in Phan township of Chiang Mai municipality (opposite side of Poung Par Khem sub-township of Mongton township in eastern Shan State) on the early morning of December 8. The drug smuggling gang, composed of more than 20 men, infiltrated through theforest passages on the Myanmar side.
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Source to VOA: US to Downgrade Relations with Myanmar – VOA News

A diplomatic source has told VOA Burmese that the U.S. will downgrade its diplomatic relations with Myanmar upon the departure of the current U.S. ambassador, Thomas Vajda, whose assignment is scheduled to conclude at the end of this month. The administration of President Joe Biden has decided not to send a successor, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a matter not yet officially announced by the State Department. “Deputy Chief of Mission Deborah Lynn will assume duties as charge d’affaires at [the] U.S. Embassy Rangoon after Ambassador Vajda’s departure,” the source said. The previous U.S. ambassador to Myanmar, Scot Marciel, told VOA that the U.S. doesn’t want to present credentials to the ruling military junta, formally known as the State Administrative Council (SAC).
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UML trying every trick in the book to break five-party bond – The Kathmandu Post

Some leaders said breaking the ruling coalition is proving to be a hard nut to crack, at least for now. This is why the party may decide to be a strong opposition should their efforts to break the alliance fail. According to UML insiders, of late, been meeting leaders of the Maoist Centre including its general secretary, Dev Prasad Gurung.
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India’s Agnipath Scheme and the Impact on Ties with Nepal – ORF Online

Altering its military recruitment policy is undisputedly India’s prerogative, but this is certain to have a direct fallout on Nepal’s military labour migration to the Indian Army. Still, youth from Nepal’s financially marginalised sections may be interested in joining the Indian Army under Agnipath. However, more prominent Gorkha families will likely push their offspring to join the British or Nepali armies because they view military recruitment as a matter of prestige and not from the lens of monetary gain.
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Nepal need not import electricity in two years from now: Kulman Ghising – Khabarhub

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Managing Director Kulman Ghising has claimed that the authority’s investment is focused on the development of electrical infrastructure to increase electricity consumption and Nepal will be fully independent in electricity in two years from now. He mentioned that various EV Expos are being held to increase the consumption of electricity produced in Nepal.
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Sweden, Nepal study India’s digital rollout of health assurance scheme – Mint

Two countries on opposing ends of the development scale— one a much-praised welfare state and the other among the world’s poorest nations—have been studying India’s AB PM-JAY, intrigued by the ambitions of the world’s largest health assurance scheme. The Swedish health delegation came as part of a visit by joint working groups (JWG) of the Sweden-India Health MoU. The idea of the meeting with the NHA was to have an introduction to its work, and the role it plays in public health.
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Darjeeling’s tea gardens at risk due to climate, cheap Nepal tea – Goa Chronicle

The tea plantations of Darjeeling, which had been developed in the 19th century under the British Raj to reduce dependence on China for tea, are now suffering from an economic crisis, and more than half of the tea plantation owners are on the verge of becoming bankrupt. At the same time, the production cost of the authentic Darjeeling tea from West Bengal is more as compared to Nepal’s tea.
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Bilawal calls for people-centric democracy: The Express Tribune

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that democracy was the foundation of an emancipated society and underscored the importance of democracies in the developing countries to collaborate in responding to common challenges. Addressing the 15th Bali Democracy Forum held in the Indonesian holiday resort of Bali, the foreign minister called for reform of international financial institutions. He said that the people of Pakistan always strove for a people-centric democracy.

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Govt considers Rs60b mini-budget: The Express Tribune

The government may slap 17% sales tax on high-grade petrol as it is considering imposing more taxes on imports to cover a projected shortfall of Rs100 billion in customs duty collection. Tax authorities have recently shared options with the government to bridge the shortfall by imposing taxes on duty-free imports and raising the additional customs duty to collect roughly Rs60 billion in taxes, according to sources in the Ministry of Finance.

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TIP releases NCPS 2022 report: Police, judiciary among top three most corrupt institutions: The News

The NCPS 2022 released at 01:00am on Friday also showed no-confidence in anti-corruption entities including NAB. At the national level, the majority of people considered anti-corruption institutions’ role as ‘ineffective’ in curbing corruption in Pakistan, the report said. The following are the key findings of the NCPS 2022: Police remain the most corrupt sector, tendering and contracting was seen as the 2nd most corrupt, judiciary 3rd most corrupt while education has climbed to become 4th most corrupt since the last NCPS 2021. The provincial breakdown of the three most corrupt sectors reveals the following:

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Sri Lanka
Unpopular decisions have to be taken for benefit of country’s future, President – Daily News.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country has had to face adverse repercussions today due to the short-sighted popular decisions taken in the past and unpopular decisions have had to be taken for the future prospects of the country. The President made this observation yesterday (08) taking part in the Third Reading debate of the Budget proposals for the financial year 2023. He said further that a Parliamentary Select Committee will be established on a resolution by the Parliament to look into those who led the economy to bankruptcy with their incorrect fiscal policies.
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Economic support to Sri Lanka not based on communal approach, Jaishankar – Daily News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday justified the government’s support to Sri Lanka, saying India would be shirking its responsibility if it did not step forward to support a crisis-hit neighbour. The economic support that India offered to Sri Lanka during its worst post-independence economic crisis was for the entire country and not based on any communal approach, he said.On the issue of Palestine, he said India stands for a two-state solution, with the two states living peacefully side-by-side.
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Six companies express interest to invest in ‘Colombo Port City’ project – Daily News

Investment Promotion State Minister Dilum Amunugama told Parliament yesterday that six companies have already expressed their interest to invest in the ‘Colombo Port City’ project. The State Minister was speaking during the Committee Stage debate on Expenditure Heads of Finance, Economic Stabilization, and National Policies Ministry.
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