VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 4th may, 2018
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PAKISTAN

Army-PTM talks stall after promising start: Dawn
May 04, 2018

The contacts between the army and the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) helped address some of the latter’s grievances, but the enthusiasm about the talks seems to be waning and there has been no development for weeks now. The contacts between the two sides, according to a military official, began on PTM’s request when it was holding a sit-in near the National Press Club in the federal capital in connection with its ‘Justice for Naqeeb Mehsud’ campaign that called for arrest and trial of police officer Rao Anwar, who was accused of killing Naqeeb in a fake encounter and was then on the run. The protest over Naqeeb’s killing provided a fillip to the erstwhile Mehsud Tahaffuz Movement that later transformed into PTM. A message was conveyed from those camped outside the press club that Manzoor Pashteen and his colleagues were their real representatives and that the sit-in would be ended following the meeting. After getting a positive response from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which was the contact point, PTM put together a 15-member delegation that included Pashteen and Muhsin Dawar. The group met ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Feb 8. Click here to read...

Protest by local traders closes key CPEC entry point: Dawn
May 04, 2018

Border trade with China through Khunjerab Pass has been suspended for over a month as traders have refused to clear their consignments through newly introduced Web-Based One Customs (WeBOC ) system at Sust Dry Port. The Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GBCCI) and other trade organisations are supporting the striking exporters and importers who have rejected the goods clearance system launched from April this season. Many rounds of talks between trader representatives and the FBR [Pakistan Customs] and the GB government officials to settle the issue failed to make any headway as both the sides were reluctant to soften their stances. Currently, about three dozen trucks carrying goods to and from China are stranded at the Sust Dry Port due to this dispute. The traders are of the view that doing border business through Khunjerab Pass is different from the rest of country and the region lacks proper internet service and they are lack the training and education to learn the WeBOC system. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

April casualties: Over 2,000 people killed and wounded in Afghanistan: Pajhwok
May 03, 2018

Nearly 2,100 people have been killed and injured in 173 attacks in Afghanistan in April showing 15 percent increase in casualties happened in April compared to March. According to Pajhwok Afghan News daily reports 1,018 people have been killed and 792 others injured in 171 different attacks in 31 provinces of the country in March. Reports based on different sources showed 1,220 people were killed and 866 others injured in 27 out of total 34 provinces of the country during April. Statistic showed that in April of every 15 people, eight people suffered casualties in face to face fighting, two in airstrikes and one each in targeted attacks and blasts. More than half of the April attacks took place in Faryab, Nangarhar, Ghazni, Jawzjan and Kunduz provinces. Click here to read...

NEPAL

Pact resumes Tatopani port work: Kathmandu Post
May 04, 2018

Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) on Thursday signed an agreement to resume construction of the dry port in Tatopani. This pact raises hopes of early reopening of the Tatopani transit point on the Nepal-China border of Kathmandu. NITDB Executive Director Laxman Bahadur Basnet and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Zhang Fan, of the Agency for International Economic Co-operation under China’s Commerce Ministry signed the agreement on China Aid Post-Disaster Recovery for Tatopani Frontier Inspection Station Project. The pact gives the project, estimated at RMB147 million, a one-year timeframe. The earthquake in April 2015 had stalled construction of the dry port. “The Chinese company will helm the construction work. It has planned all the aspects of the project,” Basnet said. Nepal government is only a facilitator in this project. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh writes to UK for Tarique’s extradition: Bdnews 24
May 03, 2018

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has said the government has written to the home office in the UK for extradition of BNP leader Tarique Rahman. He was addressing a press briefing on Thursday regarding OIC foreign ministers’ meeting to be held in Dhaka on May 5-6. “We have got responses from the UK home office while we have already written several letters,” he said answering the queries about the government’s initiative on Rahman’s extradition. While he is in exile in London, acting Chairperson of BNP Tarique Rahman is convicted in two cases of money laundering and corruption. He has been named in other cases, including one on attempted assassination of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2004 while she was the leader of the opposition. Click here to read...

MALDIVES

India helpless spectator in Maldives case: Ex-President’s kin
May 04, 2018

In a tweet directed at foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, Dunya said, “I believe India is failing in its responsibility to maintain stability & assist democracy in the Maldives. I appeal to India to assist my father President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the father of modern Maldives & the architect of India-Maldives relations in the modern era.” The Indian government has been a helpless spectator, as he island nation’s President, Abdulla Yameen, has given enough hints that he is in rush to restore democracy in Maldives. In fact, Yameen extended his emergency in defiance of India’s exhortations to desist. The entire emergency was, according to security officials here, intended to clear the path for Yameen to be re-elected from a field of one in September when the country goes to the polls. Click here to read...

CHINA

Marx's theory still shines with truth: Xi: Xinhuanet
May 04, 2018

wo centuries on, despite huge and profound changes in human society, the name of Karl Marx is still respected all over the world and his theory still shines with the brilliant light of truth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a grand gathering to mark the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth. Click here to read...

Chinese FM, DPRK top leader discuss ties, issues on Korean Peninsula: People's Daily
May 04, 2018

China supports and congratulates on the successful completion of the inter-Korean summit last month, which has brought beneficial opportunities for a political solution to the Korean Peninsula issue, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday. He made the remarks when meeting with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) during his two-day visit to the country. Click here to read...

US-China trade talks start in Beijing, but they’re not giving anything away: South China Morning Post
May 03, 2018

China and the United States began two days of talks on Thursday after a senior US delegation of hardliners landed in Beijing, with all eyes on whether the two countries can avert an all-out trade war. Click here to read...

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