VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 15th June , 2018
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PAKISTAN

TTP chief targeted in Afghan drone strike: US: Dawn
June 15, 2018

A US drone targeted and, apparently, killed the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah in the Afghan province of Kunar, media reports and US defence sources said on Thursday. The Voice of America radio reported that a US military official confirmed to its correspondents that a US drone strike had “targeted the TTP leader in an Afghan province near the border with Pakistan”. The official US radio also quoted unconfirmed reports from the target area as claiming that Mullah Fazlullah had been killed. A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strike was carried out late Wednesday and the TTP chief was its target but he also said that he could not confirm if he was killed. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Countdown Begins For Taliban’s Ceasefire: Tolo News
June 14, 2018

The countdown for the Taliban ceasefire has started and according to the Ministry of Defense, all members of the group can enter cities, including Kabul, to spend time with friends and family over Eid. However, the MoI said the Taliban members entering cities will have to leave their weapons at the gates. After President Ashraf Ghani announced an eight-day ceasefire last week, the Taliban responded by announcing a three-day ceasefire – over Eid. Already in its third day, government’s ceasefire was again marred by clashes between government forces and militants – with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on the defense. One area that has been hard hit is Kohistan district in Faryab province where more than 100 government forces are still under siege. Click here to read...

NEPAL

Nepal and China to sign hydel project JV: Kathmandu Post
June 15, 2018

Private firms from Nepal and China would sign a joint venture pact to build 1,000MW hydroelectricity plant during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China, starting June 19. Energy and railway pacts would be key gains for Nepal during the PM’s visit. Speaking to journalists at a press conference on Thursday, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said, “The PM’s visit will push ahead Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity from China to Nepal and executing past accords.” The parties will sign agreements after delegation-level talks between PM Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on June 20. The JV will begin with the Lower Manang Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project with initial output of 100MW. The JV aims to add up to 1,000MW to Nepal’s electricity grid in the next five years with an investment of up to $3 billion. The Nepal Electricity Authority and China’s State Grid Company will sign an agreement on the cross-border connectivity.Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Japan signs $1.8bn to fund six Bangladesh projects in largest loan deal: Bdnews24
June 14, 2018

Japan, one of Bangladesh’s largest development partners, has signed the largest loan package with Bangladesh to fund six major projects, including Matarbari port development and Jamuna railway bridge construction. Other projects—two separate lines of the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project, Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project, and Health Services Strengthening Project—will also be under the new funding. The loan package comprises assistance in six major projects amounting to Japanese yen 200.371 billion which is approximately $1.8 billion, the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement on Thursday. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA

A new Deputy Minister for Hindu Affairs? : Daily Mirror
June 14, 2018

President’s Secretary Austin Fernando had informed Minister of Resettlement Rehabilitation and Hindu Affairs D. M. Swaminathan that President Maithripala Sirisena will be come up with a favourable solution to the grievances expressed by some Tamil politicians in the government and the opposition on the appointment of a Muslim MP as a Deputy Minister in charge of Hindu Affairs. Minister Swaminathan in a statement yesterday said he had made president aware on the many statements expressed in media over the appointment of MP Kadar Mastan as the Deputy Minister in Charge of Hindu Religious Affair. Click here to read...

MALDIVES

India asks Maldives to release former President Gayoom, other political prisoners: The Hindu
June 15, 2018

India on Thursday called for the immediate release of the former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and other political prisoners. India’s statement comes after a court in Male on Wednesday sentenced Mr. Gayoom to 19 months in prison in a case that allegedly involved a plot to oust the current President Abdullah Yameen, who is expected to hold elections in September. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement, “It is, ...with deep dismay that we learned that the former President of the Maldives as well as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are being sentenced to long prison terms without fair trial. (India) reiterates its advice to the Government of the Maldives to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by immediately releasing political prisoners including former President Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed and creating the necessary conditions for the participation of all political forces in the Presidential elections.” Click here to read...

CHINA

Xi calls for efforts to boost innovation ability in economic and social development: People's Daily
June 15, 2018

President Xi Jinping has called for efforts to implement a new vision of development in order to achieve high-quality growth, boost the ability of innovation in economic and social development, and satisfy people's ever growing needs for a better life. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks during an inspection tour in east China's Shandong Province from June 12 to 14. Click here to read...

Chinese president meets U.S. Secretary of State: Xinhuanet
June 15, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday. Xi said China and the United States share broad common interests and shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting global development and prosperity. Working together, China and the United States can make big things happen to the benefit of both countries and the whole world, Xi said. He called on the two sides to implement the consensus reached by him and U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting in Beijing, strengthen communication, enhance mutual trust, properly handle differences, and expand cooperation so as to ensure bilateral ties will go forward along the right track to benefit the two peoples and the world. Click here to read...

Chinese regulators approve Qualcomm purchase of NXP for US$44 billion, sources say: South China Morning Post
June 15, 2018

Chinese regulators have approved US semiconductor company Qualcomm’s proposed US$44 billion acquisition of Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductors, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Click here to read...

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