VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 27 Feb 2018
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PAKISTAN

Top US official on quiet visit to improve ties: Dawn
27 Feb, 2018

A senior United States National Security Council official has been quietly visiting the federal capital amid reports that both sides are giving ‘behind-the-scenes’ efforts aimed at fixing the strains in ties more chances to avoid a complete breakdown of the increasingly dysfunctional relationship “FS (Ms Tehmina Janjua) meets Ms Lisa Curtis, the Senior Director for South and Central Asia at the NSC of US, at Mofa (ministry of foreign affairs) this morning,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted on Monday However, no further details of the meeting were provided in the tweet According to APP, Ms Curtis later called on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal but what was conveyed by the US official during the meeting was not made public either. Click here to read...

PML-N to elect its interim chief today: Dawn
27 Jan, 2018

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will hold the much-awaited meeting of its central working committee (CWC) on Tuesday (today) to elect the party’s ‘interim’ president, after the Supreme Court struck off a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017 which allowed the party’s former chief Nawaz Sharif to resume leadership of the party after being disqualified in the Panama Papers case in July last year. PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq will preside over the CWC meeting which will be held at the Sharif family’s Model Town residence. Climate Change Minister and PML-N’s information secretary Mushahidullah Khan told Dawn on Monday that the election of an interim president of the PML-N was the top agenda item for the CWC meeting. “Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is a ‘favourite’ to become the party’s interim president on Tuesday,” he confirmed. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan Prepares for Second Kabul Process Conference: Tolo News
26 Feb, 2018

President Ashraf Ghani on Monday said the Afghan government will propose an inclusive proposal to Pakistan and the Taliban during the Kabul Process conference which is set to start on Wednesday Dutch ambassador to Afghanistan has meanwhile described the conference as a milestone for Afghanistan and the peace process. “The prospect of peace is on the table, so what we want to see ... I think we can expect to see as Afghan government is in control and makes clear path forward not on the military side, but also on the peace side,” said Ambassador Geoffrey van Leeuwen. “At the Kabul Process meeting I will recommend a comprehensive plan to the Taliban and Pakistan, but we are no longer a hostage, we have good intention for peace but it does not mean weakness,” said Ghani. Click here to read...

MALDIVES

Unrest in Maldives: Tourism sector witnesses large scale layoff: ANI
27 Feb, 2018

The tourism sector in Maldives is paying a huge price due to the large scale layoff that is taking place as resorts are receiving significant cancellations from tour operators. A majority of resorts and hotels in the island nation are facing over 40 percent room cancellations per day, which directly affect the employees. Recently, the Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM) raised concern over the effect on tourism due to political issues. "We, as an organisation formed to develop, promote and advocate on behalf of a sector in tourism, believe that a responsible role must be played by all involved in the political environment in protecting the competitive tourism industry". Many countries have issued travel advisories to its citizens as political unrest continues to prevail in the island nation. Click here to read...

NEPAL

Delhi wants rail links with Kathmandu: Koshiyari: Kathmandu Post
Feb 27, 2018

Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, India coordinator of the Eminent Persons Group, has said New Delhi wants rail links with Kathmandu. There is discussion going on in Delhi over railway connection between the two capitals, said Koshiyari, a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, expressing his hope that Nepal-India relations will further deepen in the coming days. “Indo-Nepal bilateral ties will be focused on the issues of development and prosperity in the coming days. India is eager to see Nepal progress and develop. Nepal has finally got a stable government under the leadership of CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli. People have high hopes with this government. I hope this government will work for the welfare of country and its people,” Koshiyari said at the Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu on Monday. Click here to read...

MYANMAR

Northeast India strengthens ties with Myanmar: Myanmar Times
27 Feb, 2018

The Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MRCCI) and businesses from northeast India met to discuss trade between the two regions on February 24. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between companies in Mandalay and northeastern India was also signed.
Mr. Nanda Singh Bhaisora, consul general of India, said that the purpose of holding the meeting is to promote the development of products manufactured in Northeastern India and develop cross-border trading between the two countries. He added that Indian products are also compatible with Myanmar’s requirements.

“We discussed our handloom and weaving business, handicraft business and the trading of fruits, spices, chili, and a variety of fruits, herbal plants and also handmade crafts made out of bamboo. We aim to improve and promote these products for trade with Myanmar as our two countries have many similarities. For example, our ethnic attires are similar,” said Mr Nanda. Click here to read...

CHINA

NPC to look into amending basic law: China Daily
27 Feb, 2018

Next month's annual sessions of China's top legislature and political advisory body in Beijing appear set to lay solid foundations, in, at least, establishing guideline thoughts, strengthening the Party’s leadership and rationalizing the institutional arrangement for national rejuvenation by adopting a series of constitutional amendments and a structural reform plan to revamp the Party and the State institutions. Click here to read...

Liu's US visit designed to ease tensions: People’s Daily
27 Feb, 2018

Analysts say there are hopes a visit to the United States beginning Tuesday by a high-ranking Chinese official will ease trade tensions and maintain steady bilateral ties. Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, will visit the US through Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said. Click here to read...

Is giving Xi Jinping an endless reign the answer to China’s economic woes or a recipe for disaster? : South China Morning Post
27 Feb, 2018

Beijing’s plan for President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely could provide the answer to China’s deep-rooted economic woes, analysts said, while others warned that an increasingly centralised power base could create new problems at home and abroad. Click here to read...

In ending presidential term limits, ‘Xi Jinping is thinking global and acting local’: South China Morning Post
27 Feb, 2018

Xi Jinping’s push to repeal the term limits of the presidency, a largely nominal office, could be driven in part by his global ambitions and desire to institutionalise the Communist Party as the state, analysts said. Click here to read...

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