VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 22 Feb 2018

Nawaz Sharif removed as PML-N head after SC rules disqualified person cannot lead a party: Dawn
21 Feb, 2018

An individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party, a three-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar ruled on Wednesday, sending another seismic wave rippling through Pakistan's electoral system. The apex court's verdict was in response to 17 petitions challenging the controversial Elections Act 2017, which had been bulldozed through parliament last year to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif's return to the PML-N's helm as party president. Sharif had earlier been deemed unfit to hold public office in the landmark Panama Papers judgement, in which a five-member bench of the Supreme Court had unanimously ruled that the former prime minister had not been 'honest' and 'truthful' in discharging his obligations as a lawmaker — both necessary conditions to hold public office in Pakistan under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. Click here to read...

Ghani Asks Taliban to Choose Between Peace and War: Tolo News
21 Feb, 2018

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday again invited the Taliban to enter into purposeful peace negotiations with the Afghan government and to stop waging war in the country. Ghani spoke at the closing session of a two-day consultative meeting on peace where he outlined his administration’s vision for durable peace in the country. The meeting was held ahead of the Kabul Process peace meeting next week, a gathering of 23 nations, the EU, UN and NATO, which is intended to discuss security and political issues in the country. Ghani also stressed the need for more efforts to be made to further promote rule of law and the reform process in the country. Click here to read...

Nepal-bound gasoline being sold en route: Kathmandu Post
22 Feb, 2018

Gasoline imported from India is being sold en route before reaching Nepal as prices are higher across the border. And with Nepal-bound tankers arriving only partially filled, state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has had to hike imports to make up for the shortfall. Tanker drivers transporting oil for NOC from the Barauni depot in India have been unloading part of their cargo before crossing the border into Nepal to make a quick buck, officials said. According to NOC, the country’s eastern region consumes about 750 kilolitres of diesel and 250 kilolitres of petrol daily. Compared to the last fiscal year, the figures are 25 and 35 percent higher respectively. Diesel costs Rs28 per litre more and petrol costs Rs22 per litre more in India, and this kind of profit margin is irresistible for tanker drivers, said officials. NOC currently issues about 12 kilolitres of petroleum products each to gasoline pumps in the eastern region. Demand has not been that high even during the peak farming and construction seasons when consumption soars, they said. Click here to read...

President delivers brief address, inaugurates parliament for 2018: Haveeru
21 Feb, 2018

President Abdulla Yameen delivered the Presidential Address Wednesday night, at the opening session of the parliament for this year. In the address the president had stated that the aim of the government was to serve the Maldivian people and work towards the development of the nation while ensuring the citizens’ happiness. The session was attended by 36 members of parliament, out of 85 members. The opposition lawmakers had decided to boycott the sitting shortly before it commenced. While the president is required by the Constitution to address the parliament on the state of the country, and present proposals for improving the nation, President Yameen had not highlighted the state of emergency that is currently in place, in his speech. He also insisted that Maldives’ stature has increased in the international arena with the leadership exhibited by the Maldivian government. As such, he highlighted how Maldives is currently seeking election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member from the Asia-Pacific region for the term 2019 – 2020. If successful, the president said that Maldives would have the opportunity to advocate for small island nations and continue to address issues such as the environment, development and terrorism. Click here to read...

Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signatories discuss implementation of NCA: Mizzima
21 Feb, 2018

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) which signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on February 13 discussed implementation of the peace process with the eight other signatories in Chiang Mai on February 18 and 19. Spokesman for the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), Pado Saw Tah Doh Mu, said they discussed the Joint Implementation Committee Meeting (JICM) and inclusion of new members in Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC). Click here to read...

Bangladesh fears exodus of Bengalis from Assam: The Hindu
21 Feb, 2018

The ongoing process of compiling the National Register of Citizens in Assam may trigger an exodus of Bengalis and create one more Rohingya-like refugee crisis for Bangladesh, senior officials of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government said here on Wednesday. Addressing visiting Indian journalists, they said the process in Assam is threatening India-Bangladesh ties and will be exploited by anti-India elements and Islamic fundamentalists who are challenging the Awami League rule. “Citizenship issue will be another disappointment after the setback on the sharing of water of the river Teesta. We believe India should think of its friendship with Bangladesh before going ahead with the full implementation of the citizens register in Assam. “If the process leads to deportation of a section of the Bengali population of Assam, it will trigger another Rohingya-like refugee crisis,” said Iqbal Shobhan Chowdhury, media adviser to Prime Minister Hasina. Click here to read...

China revives socialism with reform years after manifesto published: expert: People’s Daily
22 Feb, 2018

The Communist Party of China (CPC) is reviving socialism through reforms and innovations, experts noted on Wednesday, which marked the 170th anniversary of the first publication of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. "The values, ideas, mission, theory, methodology and principles of the Communist Manifesto will always be the origin coordinates," read an article by Li Haiqing, a professor at the Institute of Marxism under the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC. Click here to read...

Reform or no reform? Authors clash over China’s way to a healthy economic future: South China Morning Post
22 Feb, 2018

Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to leading China could be a drag on future growth, the author of a new book on the country’s economy said at a New York forum, although a fellow panellist pointed to China’s history of innovation as evidence the country is on the right path to the future. Click here to read...

Transparency International: China climbs two places in global corruption perception ranking as President Xi Jinping wages war on graft: South China Morning Post
22 Feb, 2018

China has moved up two places in a global corruption index of the world’s nations as President Xi Jinping waged a high profile war on graft that has netted thousands of officials. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 was released on Wednesday, showing very little change among the largest nations’ standings, and more than two thirds of all 180 participating countries with a score of less than 50 – out of a possible 100. Click here to read...

Filial piety fund emerges to help make virtue thrive: China Daily
22 Feb, 2018

On a bulletin board in Licun village, Henan province, hangs a list of all residents aged 70 or above, followed by the names of their children and the contributions each child has made to a special fund. For centuries, Chinese people have highly valued the way they treat their parents, called filial piety. Nowadays, authorities in rural areas have even turned to a filial piety fund. Click here to read...

India media uses fake news to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan: expert: Global Times
21 Feb, 2018

Pakistan's senate on Tuesday denied that the country will include Mandarin as an official language, saying the country is merely encouraging the learning of the language to further its cooperation with China. The Senate of Pakistan on Tuesday tweeted that "in light of the growing affiliation, collaboration between Pakistan and China under the CPEC, courses of the official Chinese language, also known as the 'Standard Chinese,' may be made accessible so as to overcome any costly communication barrier." Click here to read...

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