VIF Neighbourbood News Digest: 8th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Govt-backed jirga seeks to resume talks with PTM: Dawn
May 08, 2018

The government-sponsored jirga of tribal elders and parliamentarians on Monday dispatched a four-member team from among the jirga members to Dera Ismail Khan to locate Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leaders and urge them to resume negotiations with the official jirga as soon as possible. MNA from Khyber Agency Haji Shahji Gul told Dawn that they had been awaiting the PTM response for resumption of talks with the tribal jirga since the conclusion of their second round of talks in Jamrud on April 25 at his residence. The first round of these talks was held in Peshawar on April 18. “A three-member PTM delegation sought three days for consultations with their colleagues on April 25 after which they did not approach any member of the jirga which comprises two elders each from every tribal agency, all tribal parliamentarians, a representative each of federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments and a leading figure from Malakand division,” the MNA explained. He said that an informal meeting of the official jirga was held at a private residence in Peshawar on Monday in which four jirga members from North and South Waziristan were assigned the responsibility of going to Dera Ismail Khan and helping locate PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen who had remained out of contact with the jirga since April 25. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
ANSF Foils 1,700 Operations By Taliban: Defense Ministry: Tolo News
May 07, 2018

Defense minister Tariq Shah Bahrami on Monday said the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have thwarted over 1,700 operations by the Taliban since the group announced its spring offensive 'Al Khandaq' last month. He said, since then the group has launched over 2,600 operations across the country, from which the security forces have foiled 1,700 operations. Regional countries are involved in funding and equipping the Taliban, he said. On Monday, Afghan minister of defense Tariq Shah Bahrami, minister of interior Wais Ahmad Barmak and Masoom Stanekzai, chairman of National Directorate of Security (NDS) were summoned to parliament to brief lawmakers in the house about preparations of the security forces in the wake of Taliban’s spring offensive and the deteriorating security situation. Addressing the lawmakers, Barmak said the rivalry between the regional countries towards the war in Afghanistan has been injecting more strength to the Taliban. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Oli, Modi to land in Janakpur same time: Kathmandu Post
May 08, 2018

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will land in Janakpur the same time as his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Friday, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali has said. Making public the itinerary of the Indian PM’s state visit to Nepal, Minister Gyawali on Monday said Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel and Province 2 Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut will welcome Modi to Janakpur. Modi will offer special puja at Janaki Temple for about 30 minutes and meet PM Oli there. Gyawali said the prime ministers will jointly initiate two projects--Ayodhya Bus Service and the Ramayan Circuit--on the Janaki temple premises. The Janakpur sub-metropolis will then accord a civic reception to Modi at the Barhabigha Rangabhoomi ground. The Indian PM will head for Kathmandu after addressing the programme. According to Gyawali, an official meeting between the authorities from both sides will take place in Kathmandu for signing of agreements. A press conference will follow. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Fighting escalates in Myanmar's Kachin State, trapping civilians in conflict zones: ABC News
May 08, 2018

While international eyes focus on what the UN has called the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, another deadly conflict is heating up in the mountains of the country's north Aid workers say they are "profoundly concerned" by fighting near civilian populations in Kachin State, where a decades-old conflict has flared with new clashes which are being described as the most intense since the 1960s. Thousands of civilians have fled, but thousands more are trapped without supplies. An officer with the Kachin Independence Army, Captain Labang Ze Lum, said they would keep fighting for "as long as the Burmese keep coming at us." This conflict goes back a long time, and while it has ebbed and flowed for years, recently it has intensified. When Burma — now called Myanmar — gained its independence in 1948, its many ethnic groups were promised that they would later be able to break away and form their own lands. Click here to read...

CHINA
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He to go to Washington to continue negotiations to avert a trade war: South China Morning Post
May 08, 2018

Trade talks aimed at averting a US-China trade war will resume in Washington next week, the White House announced on Monday. China’s Vice-Premier Liu He will visit the US capital “to continue the discussions with the president’s economic team,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. Click here to read...

CPC pledges to fully incorporate core socialist values in legislation: People's Daily
May 08, 2018

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Monday announced a plan to "fully incorporate core socialist values in legislation" in the next five to 10 years. The legislation, revision, abolishment, and explanation of laws should embody core socialist values, according to the document. Click here to read...

Ministry sets a 3-year cleanup goal: China Daily
May 08, 2018

The head of the newly established Ministry of Ecology and Environment is emphasizing its role as a supervisor and vowed that improvements to the environment would be "obvious" in three years through at least seven specific campaigns."The basic responsibility of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment is supervising," Minister Li Ganjie said in an interview with People's Daily. The ministry will emphasize strengthening four major duties - drafting ecological and environmental policy, monitoring and assessment, supervision and law enforcement and inspection - Li said. Click here to read...

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