VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 6 March 2018
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PAKISTAN
FATF watch list: ‘Pakistan’s inclusion will not hurt economy’: Tribune
March 06, 2018

Placing Pakistan on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will not hurt the economy as there would be no legal hitch in accessing foreign funding, including potential future borrowings from donor agencies, said experts. Speaking at a special seminar, ‘Financial Action Task Force (FATF): Way Forward for Pakistan’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday, other speakers were of the view that while there would be no huge setback to Pakistan’s economy, the country needed to take it seriously in terms of reviewing its position. Former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood said the move by the US with the help of Germany and the UK was unprecedented and it seems an Indian inspired initiative, which was visible in the Indian media where a frantic picture was painted of doom and gloom about Pakistan. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
202 civilians killed, wounded in February: Civilian Protection Advocacy Group: Pajhwok
March 04, 2018

Two Hundred and two civilians have suffered causalities in February with 113, including 16 women and 17 children killed, and 89 others injured, including 20 children, Civilian Protection Advocacy Group (CPAG) said on Sunday. CPAG registered incidents of violence such as blasts, suicide attacks, face to face clashes and other different type of violent incidents but there was significant decline in the number of casualties last month compared to January. The CPAG besides taking the account of casualties has been advocating for the decline of civilian casualties during conflict and want conflicting parties to ensure the protection of civilians. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepal and Pakistan agree to revive SAARC: Kathmandu Post
March 06, 2018

Nepal and Pakistan agreed to revive the stalled Saarc process, at bilateral talks held on Monday evening between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and visiting Pakistani PM Shahid Khaquan Abbasi. Abbasi arrived in Kathmandu earlier on a two-day official visit to congratulate Oli on his appointment as the PM. The two sides are said to have discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. Particular focus was on expediting the stalled South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation process as Abbasi expressed his desire to host the 19th summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a favourable environment for the same.“The two PMs discussed about enhancing regional development. And they also agreed to make Saarc a more effective organisation by infusing vigour into it and by taking other initiatives,” Bishnu Rimal, chief adviser to PM Oli, said after the meeting. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka: Police inaction as Muslim shops torched by Buddhists: Al Jazeera
March 06, 2018

Sri Lanka imposed a curfew in a central town popular with tourists after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze. Police said on Monday there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation. "The curfew was imposed to control the situation in the area," said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera. Police officers were placed on heightened alert in Kandy to ensure the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said in a statement. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
UNHCR appeals for protection of Rohingya currently trapped on Myanmar-Bangladesh border: UNCHR
March 05, 2018

UNHCR is concerned about the safety of a group of vulnerable Rohingya women, men, and children from Myanmar, who have been living in a so-called “no man’s land” near the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh since the end of August 2017. UNHCR is closely following the developments after they were reportedly ordered to vacate the area by the Myanmar authorities. UNHCR underscores that everyone has the right to seek asylum, just as they also have the right to return home when they deem the time and circumstances right. People who have fled violence in their country must be granted safety and protection and any decision to return must be voluntary and based upon a free and informed choice. UNHCR also reiterates that conditions are not yet conducive to the return of Rohingya refugees. The causes of their flight have not been addressed and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the denial of their rights. Pursuing the conditions that will address these causes and enable their voluntary and sustainable return is critical. Click here to read...

CHINA
Alaska announces trade mission to China, amid strained Sino-US ties: South China Morning Post
March 06, 2018

Alaska Governor Bill Walker on Monday announced details of a spring trade mission to China that aims to build on existing relationships between the state and the Asian country. Click here to read...

Premier pledges vigorous poverty relief this year: China Daily
March 06, 2018

China pledged to pull another 10 million people out of dire poverty this year and promised to adopt targeted measures against corruption and misconduct in the poverty relief sector. The 2018 goal of 10 million people includes 2.8 million who are to be relocated from inhospitable areas, Premier Li Keqiang said when delivering the Government Work Report at the annual legislative session on Monday. Click here to read...

China to take new measures to boost foreign investment: Xinhua
March 06, 2018

China will take a series of new measures this year to solicit more foreign investment, said Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. Click here to read...

Party gives its version of how Xi Jinping’s plan to change the constitution unfolded: South China Morning Post
March 05, 2018

A controversial plan to remove the presidential term limit from the Chinese constitution may have been first proposed three weeks before the Communist Party congress in October that confirmed Xi Jinping’s status as the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Click here to read...

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