VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 16th August, 2018

KP, Sindh chief ministers elected; Punjab, Balochistan to elect speakers, deputy speakers today: Dawn

August 16, 2018

It is a busy day for democracy today, with the newly sworn-in assemblies of Punjab and Balochistan electing their speakers and deputy speakers, while the assemblies of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are to elect their chief ministers for the next five years. Mahmood Khan — former provincial minister for sports — was elected comfortably as the 22nd leader of the house. Later, the Sindh Assembly returned Murad Ali Shah to his role as chief minister Sindh. Click here to read...


Suicide Attack Victims Buried, As Country Reels In Shock: Tolo News

August 16, 2018

Devastated families of students killed in Wednesday’s deadly classroom bombing on Thursday laid their loved ones to rest. This came as the country reeled in shock over the suicide bombing that claimed dozens of young lives. The victims were mostly students aged between 16 and 19 – both males and females. Some eyewitnesses said there were probably about 100 students in the class at the time of the explosion. They had been taking extra lessons in preparation for the university entrance examination. Health officials on Wednesday night confirmed at least 48 people had been killed in the explosion. Eyewitnesses said however the death toll was more likely around 60. However, on Thursday morning the health department revised down the death toll from 48 to 34 – citing only that some bodies had been “double-counted”. Click here to read...


Kathmandu-Kerung railway project "complicated and arduous," report says: Kathmandu Post

Complicated geological terrain and laborious engineering workload will become the most significant obstacles to building a cross-border railway line linking the Chinese border town of Kerung with Kathmandu, according to a classified feasibility study by a Chinese firm on the much-touted project. The report, which was obtained exclusively by the Kathmandu Post, said the railway line, which has to pass through the rugged Himalayan high mountains would involve orchestrating complex construction plans, raising questions about whether the most hyped infrastructure project in Nepal will see to its end. Following an agreement signed by Prime Minister KP Oli during his visit to Beijing in June, the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute conducted a month-long technical study of the proposed 121-kilometre railway from Kathmandu to Kerung. Click here to read...


Maldives' presidential poll to go ahead as scheduled: Business Standard

August 15, 2018

The Maldives government on Wednesday said that the presidential election will go ahead as scheduled on September 23 and poll campaigning was progressing smoothly in a peaceful environment. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had noted with concern the queries raised by certain international partners on whether the election would be held as announced. It said the government has been working closely with the election commission and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the election is held in a free, fair and credible manner, Xinhua news agency reported. Click here to read...


Lunar probe unveiled as it readies for expedition: China Daily

August 16, 2018

Chinese scientists unveiled their latest lunar probe, the Chang'e 4, on Wednesday, saying it will be launched in December on a mission to land on the far side of the moon. Wu Weiren, chief engineer of China's lunar exploration program, said the Chang'e 4 consists of two parts - a lander and a rover, and both carry multiple scientific instruments. The probe's design is based on its predecessor, the Chang'e 3, but with some modifications, he told the audience during a ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday at the start of a public solicitation to give the rover a name. Click here to read...

Chinese delegation to visit US late August for trade talks: People’s Daily

August 16, 2018

China's Ministry of Commerce has announced that senior economic officials are set to visit the United States for talks on trade issues later this month. It says Chinese vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen will lead a delegation and meet with U.S. under-secretary of the Treasury David Malpass. Chinese authorities reiterated their stance of opposing unilateralism and protectionism in global trade and refuse to accept unilateral trade restrictions. Click here to read...

Turkey’s closer ties to China ‘will be economic’ as Nato and EU retain share of loyalty: South China Morning Post

August 16, 2018

China may have emerged as an alternative ally for Turkey while its relations with the US have deteriorated, but it is yet to become an all-out strategic partner for the country, with its security and economic policies still shaped largely by Nato and the European Union. US-Turkey tension further escalated on Wednesday when Turkey announced it would increase tariffs on American rice, vehicle, alcohol, coal and cosmetics products. Click here to read...

String of Chinese satellites to keep real-time watch on South China Sea to protect ‘national sovereignty’: South China Morning Post

August 16, 2018

China will next year start launching a series of satellites to track water conditions and traffic, and reinforce “national sovereignty” throughout the South China Sea, according to state media. In all, six optical satellites, two hyperspectral satellites and two radar satellites will keep a real-time daily watch on the contested waters and monitor key areas several times a day as part of the Hainan satellite constellation system, China News Service reported on Monday. Click here to read...

US blacklists Chinese and Russian companies for breaking North Korea embargo and aiding trade worth over US$1 billion: South China Morning Post

August 15, 2018

The US Treasury announced sanctions on Russian and Chinese companies on Wednesday for violating the economic embargo on North Korea as Washington seeks to keep pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear programme. The Treasury accused China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co and its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte., of falsifying documents to facilitate shipments of alcohol and cigarettes to North Korea. Those shipments helped fuel what the Treasury alleged was a huge “illicit” cigarette trade earning the Pyongyang regime US$1 billion a year. Click here to read...

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