VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 12th June, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Nisar’s 34-year association with PML-N comes to a bitter end: Dawn
June 12, 2018

Following an extended war of words with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) top command, disgruntled party stalwart and former federal interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday announced his decision to part with the Sharifs, and to contest the elections as an independent candidate from four national and provincial assemblies’ seats in Rawalpindi. “The PML-N’s parliamentary committee... has awarded most of the party tickets to political orphans... that is why I am parting my ways from the PML-N and will contest the elections as an independent candidate,” he announced at a corner meeting. The former minister said he would not beg the PML-N’s parliamentary committee for a ticket. Instead, he will contest the upcoming polls as an independent candidate from NA-59, NA-63, PP-10 and PP-12. Mr Khan said the PML-N had become a “family party”, which had made it impossible for him to stay in it even though he had never really wanted to quit it. “Nawaz Sharif, who once opposed PPP’s slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto by saying that women should not govern the country, has now foisted his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif on the party,” he complained. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
In Advance of Cease-Fires, Bombings in Afghanistan Kill at Least 18: NY Times
June 11, 2018

Suicide bombers struck a government building in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday, killing at least 17 people, Afghan officials said. Another government office, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, was also a bombing target on Monday, but no one was killed. A bomb detonated prematurely in a third location, killing one person. The deaths came on the eve of separate but overlapping cease-fires, one declared by the Afghan government and the other by the Taliban insurgency, to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of daytime fasting. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Officials leave for China to seal transit, transport deal: Kathmandu Post
June 12, 2018

Two separate teams are leaving for China to secure as many pacts with Beijing ahead of the state visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli scheduled to begin on June 19. A team led by Gopal Sigdel, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, which includes officials from other ministries, left for China on Monday. Its agenda concerns using highways in Tibet and logistical facilities close to the border for transportation of goods to and from Nepal. Nepal currently uses three border points—Kerung, Kimathanka and Tatopani—linked with Tibetan highways, for transportation of goods from China. The Tatopani border point has remained closed since the 2015 earthquake. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
First monsoon rains pound Rohingya camps in Bangladesh: Al Jazeera
June 12, 2018

The first torrential rain of the summer monsoon has fallen in southern Bangladesh. About 230mm of rain has fallen in Cox's Bazar in the last 24 hours, a location that is home to an estimated 702,160 Rohingya refugees who have been driven from Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 2017. The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) warns that the refugees live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle the monsoon and cyclone seasons, with alarmingly limited options for evacuation. Emergency measures have been initiated: Major waterways have been dredged to allow the monsoon rains to drain through the camps; 28,000 refugees have been relocated to remove them from the most vulnerable locations and tens of thousands of shelters have been strengthened to protect against the rain. Click here to read...

CHINA
Sino-Australian trade is broad and deep: Australian MP: People's Daily
June 11, 2018

There's strong potential for China and Australia to work together economically, as the latter is in great support of free trade and globalization, said Steven Ciobo, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. During the Australia National Press Club interview held on June 6th, Ciobo noted that despite the fact that China and Australia have differing opinions on certain matters, the two nations are communicating in a respectful way, mindful of each other’s sovereignty. Click here to read...

Xi stresses solid efforts to win battle against poverty: Xinhuanet
June 11, 2018

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has made instructions urging local officials to seek a complete victory in poverty alleviation. Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that the task of eliminating poverty is arduous and the time is pressing, and a down-to-earth work style is needed. Xi's instructions were conveyed to officials at a video conference held Monday in Beijing on a three-year action plan on winning the battle against poverty. Party committees and governments at all levels should regard poverty alleviation as a major political task, Xi said, adding top-ranking officials at all levels shall take the major responsibility for poverty alleviation in their local areas. Click here to read...

ZTE to replace board, fire senior management under US settlement: South China Morning Post
June 12, 2018

ZTE Corp. has agreed to pay an additional US$1 billion in civil penalties to the US Department of Commerce and put US$400 million in escrow to settle its violation of export controls that threatened to put it out of business. Click here to read...

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