VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 11th July, 2018
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TTP claims responsibility for Haroon Bilour's assassination, 19 deaths in Peshawar blast: Dawn
July 10, 2018

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the Peshawar suicide blast that killed senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others last night. Bilour, whose father Bashir Bilour was also killed in a TTP-claimed suicide attack in 2012, was targeted on Tuesday night at an election gathering in the Yakatoot area. He was contesting the election from the PK-78 constituency. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) spokesperson today announced that the election for PK-78 has been postponed due to the tragedy. Click here to read....

AFGHANISTAN
US Officials Expect to Review Afghan Strategy: Tolo News
July 11, 2018

The United States is preparing to undertake a review of its strategy in Afghanistan, US officials told Reuters, a year after President Donald Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend America’s involvement in the 17-year-old war. Officials said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of US military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The goal was to force the Taliban militants to open peace talks with the Kabul government. Trump was opposed to remaining in America’s longest war, but was convinced by his advisers to give it more time. He authorized last year the deployment an additional 3,000 US troops, bringing the total to around 15,000. Click here to read....

Nepal, India to expedite rail project: Kathmandu Post
July 11, 2018

Senior government officials from Nepal and India on Monday agreed to seal the Memorandum of Understanding for Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Survey of the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail line as soon as possible. Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Joint Secretary Keshab Kumar Sharma and India’s Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary (DPA-III) Namgya Khampa took part in the meeting. India has despatched the text of the MoU of Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line. During the meeting both sides agreed to put concerted efforts and resolve all issues expeditiously, to complete the railway lines from Jayanagar to Janakpur-Kurtha and from Jogbani to Biratnagar Customs Yard by the October 2018 time line. Click here to read....

Apart from Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line, India has already started building five cross border railway lines between Nepal and India. One line from Jayanagar to Janakpur-Kurtha will be completed within a year. The meeting also agreed to take forward work in the remaining stretches of the two rail projects from Kurtha-Bijalpura-Bardibas and from Biratnagar Customs Yard-Biratnagar sections on priority, according to the statement. Click here to read....

SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka to restore capital punishment for drug offences: The Hindu
July 11, 2018

The Sri Lankan Cabinet has unanimously approved a move to bring back capital punishment for drug-related crimes, a senior minister has said. Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, Minister of the Buddhist Order said that President Maithripala Sirisena had recently stated that he was under pressure to re-introduce capital punishment as a deterrent to serious crimes. “The Cabinet in unison agreed to it. We cannot allow inmates in prison to destroy the country by directing crimes,” Mr. Perera said yesterday, adding convicts carry out drug trade while still in prison. Click here to read....

CHINA
Spotlight: Chinese premier hails China-Germany cooperation on autopilot, pledges further support: Xinhuanet
July 11, 2018

Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday hailed China-Germany cooperation on autopilot and pledged more support in this field. Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Li attended an autopilot cooperation exhibition between the two countries. He viewed three autopilot test vehicles produced by six enterprises and technological institutes from China and Germany. Li was briefed on the progress of cooperation, the shares of enterprises from both countries and technological details. Click here to read....

Xi seeks greater Sino-Arab relations: China Daily
July 11, 2018

President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts with Arab states on Tuesday to build the Belt and Road together, promote peace and stability in the Middle East and safeguard justice. Xi made the remarks in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the eighth ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. The president announced that China and Arab countries had agreed to establish a "future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development".Click here to read....

Welcome to the modern military: China’s new combat units prepare electronic warfare: South China Morning Post
July 11, 2018

Thousands of fresh graduates of new combat units from the People’s Liberation Army – China’s military – have begun a week-long drill in electronic warfare, expert said. The war games, which started on Monday and test reconnaissance, electronic communication, cybersecurity, air strikes and other battle skills, are aimed at increasing ground troops’ understanding of modern warfare, and fostering new strategic ground force commanders after a sweeping PLA overhaul. Click here to read....

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