VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 1st June, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Justice Nasirul Mulk takes oath as caretaker PM: Dawn
June 1, 2018

Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk took oath as the seventh caretaker prime minister at a ceremony at President House in Islamabad on Friday, hours after the National Assembly was formally dissolved in the lead up to the elections. President Mamnoon Hussain administered oath to Mulk, who was unanimously nominated for the post by both the government and opposition, with former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi describing the retired judge as a someone whose appointment "no one would object to". Top government officials and dignitaries attended the ceremony, including former PM Abbasi, the chiefs of staff, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, and others. Click here to read.....

AFGHANISTAN
Govt Asked To Reconstruct Kabul-Kandahar Highway: Tolo News
May 31, 2018

An annual report by Save the Children shows that war, poverty and discrimination have greatly affected the lives of children in Afghanistan. The “End of Childhood Index Ranking” of the organization features 175 countries. The index scores reflect the average level of performance across a set of eight indicators related to child health, education, labor, marriage, childbirth and violence. The only reason a country was not included in this analysis was insufficient data, the organization says. The report states Afghanistan as being the 16th worst country for children in the world. According to the report, at least 3.5 million children in Afghanistan have been deprived of education and almost two million others are manual laborers. Most of the children are from vulnerable families who don’t have the ability to pay for their education or give them a better life. Click here to read.....

NEPAL
PM’s state visit to China: Energy, railway and trade top Oli’s list: Kathmandu Post

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli will have a busy agenda featuring energy, railway, and trade during his five-day State Visit to China, beginning from June 19. Nepali Ambassador to China, Leelamani Poudyal recently visited Kathmandu and met with PM Oli and top government officials to plan the visit. Wu Jianghao, Director General is currently in the Capital to discuss preparations for the visit. He also met with Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and invited him to China. Various ministries are working on Oli’s agenda. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by a committee headed by Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, would ratify the agenda.The PM’s Chief Adviser Bishu Rimal said, “We would inform after the PMO receives the agenda. The focus would be on implementing past accord with China signed by PM Oli during his visit in 2016.” During the meeting with DG Wu, Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and MoFA China Desk Head Ganesh Dhakal discussed Nepal’s agenda. Wu assured he would forward them to the concerned departments in China and will revert soon. Rail and road links, energy (cross border transmission line and probably one hydro electricity project); petroleum storage facilities, transit and transportation facilities would feature on the agenda. Regarding the Protocol to the Transit and Transportation Agreement, Nepal awaits China’s response to its draft MoU sent last August as well as five Chinese transit points—three sea and two land ports. Click here to read.....

Bangladesh
Bangladesh 'very concerned' over China building dams on Brahmaputra: Times of India
May 31, 2018

Amid reports of China trying to build dams over the mighty Brahmaputra river, Bangladesh today said it is "very concerned" about diversion of water and prepared to participate in a joint water basin management. Bangladesh high commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali batted for joint-dredging of rivers and said the prime ministers of the two countries had an extensive discussions on the issue. Responding to a question on China building dams on the Brahmaputra, he said: "On the Brahmaputra basin, we are very concerned about diversion of water and Bangladesh is prepared to join a joint basin management concept where we will discuss the points of water as it flows from the point of origin to the point of exit in the sea." "And naturally, we will be very happy to fully cooperate with all regional joint agencies," he said. Speaking to reporters at an interaction organised at the Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi, he added Bangladesh believes in joint river basin management both in the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Click here to read.....

SRI LANKA
China trade pact talks with Sri Lanka hit major hurdles: SCMP
June 1, 2018

Talks between China and Sri Lanka for a free-trade agreement have hit major hurdles, mainly because Beijing will not agree to Colombo’s demand for a review of the deal after 10 years, Sri Lanka’s top negotiator said. China has invested billions of dollars building ports and roads and power stations in the Indian Ocean island nation just off the southern toe of India as part of its Belt and Road Initiative to increase its trade and other connections across Asia and beyond.But concerns have grown in recent months that such investments can drive the country of 21 million people deeper into debt and undermine its sovereignty, prompting greater scrutiny of deals with China. Click here to read.....

CHINA
Beijing may have response to Washington: People's Daily
1 June, 2018

China will evaluate the influence of the renewed threat of restrictions the United States has placed on Chinese investment and exports and will reserve the right to take countermeasures, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The recently announced US restrictions do not conform to the basic principles and spirit of the World Trade Organization, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular news conference on Thursday. Click here to read.....

China lags far behind US in digital economy: analysts: People's Daily
1 June, 2018

China lags far behind the US in the digital economy, mainly due to its weaknesses in industry integration and innovation abilities, an expert said on Thursday. The comment came after the release of the Global Connecting Index (GCI) report by telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Inc on Tuesday, saying that China ranked No.27 in terms of the digital economy among 79 countries and regions assessed, a stark contrast to the US' No.1 place. Click here to read.....

CPC reviews plans on rural vitalization, poverty relief: Xinhuanet
31 May, 2018

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee reviewed a plan on rural vitalization and a guideline on the battle against poverty at a meeting Thursday. The meeting was presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Taking into account the full picture of the Party and the country's causes and in line with rural people's aspiration for better lives, the rural vitalization strategy is an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee on issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and rural people, said a statement released after the meeting. Click here to read.....

China will send team to minimise conflict at regional security talks, sources say: South China Morning Post
31 May, 2018

With the US set to raise the issue of China’s militarisation of its man-made islands in the South China Sea at a regional security dialogue in Singapore this weekend, Beijing’s representatives have been carefully chosen to minimise tensions, sources said. Click here to read.....

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