VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 10th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Pakistan to have new envoy as US imposes restrictions: Dawn
May 10, 2018

Pakistan seems all set to have a new ambassador in Washington this month, as the United States appears ready to impose strict limitations on the movement of Pakistani diplomats in two days. Both developments come amid increasing tensions between the US and Pakistan, which were once close allies in war against terrorism. Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said at a news briefing on Wednesday that the embassy had received the agrément for the new ambassador, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, on Tuesday, paving the way for his appointment. He said that instead of the mandatory six weeks, he has only requested for three weeks for winding up his engagements in the US capital. Mr Chaudhary is expected to leave his job on May 29, only two days before an interim government is expected to take charge in Islamabad. Mr Siddiqui can stay for the next three months if the coming interim government agrees to keep him. Legal experts, however, are not clear if the interim government has the authority to make such appointments. Click here to read…

AFGHANISTAN
Gunmen Storm Kabul Police Headquarters; 2 Soldiers Killed: Tolo News
May 09, 2018

Kabul witnessed three explosions in two separate parts on Wednesday, security officials confirmed. The first attack happened in Dasht-e-Barchi area in Kabul city close to PD13 Police Headquarters building, Nabjib Danish a spokesman for Interior Ministry said. Following the first blast, Danish said, two explosions occurred close to PD10 Police Headquarters compound in Shahr-e-Naw area, in downtown Kabul. Danish said Special Force Unit has arrived at the areas and are trying to bring the situation under control. Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Wednesday afternoon, Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said five attackers were involved in the attack on PD10 Police Headquarters building in Kabul's Shahr-e-Naw area. He said two or three attackers have hidden in a nearby building in the area and that police are trying to kill the militants. Barmak said two suicide attackers were involved in the attack on P13 Police Headquarters in Dasht-e-Barchi. The National Directorate of Security said in a statement that Haqqani network had plotted today’s suicide bombings in Kabul with the help of Lashkar-e-Taiba. However, Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi. Click here to read…

NEPAL
Modi visit to ink railway and waterways pacts: Kathmandu Post
May 10, 2018

An agreement on waterways navigation on Kosi River will be announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third visit to Nepal, starting tomorrow. According to officials familiar with PM Modi’s State Visit, India and Nepal would reach an understanding on inland water navigation on Kosi River. The officials are working on the draft of the joint communiqué that would be released on Friday evening after delegation level talks between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Modi. A team of India’s Inland Water Navigation Authority will conduct a feasibility study for waterway navigation in Koshi River. The Indian team will conduct survey for inland water navigation from Kosi River to Kalughat in the Indian state of Bihar. India has informed that the nearest shipment point is Kalughat, Bihar. It would be ready within a year and there is a great scope for Nepal and India on this route.The Indian study would reveal what size of ships or steamer or vessels could ferry goods and passengers via this route. Click here to read…

BANGLADESH
India hands second batch of Rohingya relief to Bangladesh: Bdnews 24
May 09, 2018

India has handed over the second consignment of relief goods to Bangladesh to helping it to confront the humanitarian crisis caused by the influx of Rohingyas from the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The 373 tonnes of relief consignment include 104 tonnes of milk powder, 102 tonnes of dried fish, 61 tonnes of baby food, 50,000 raincoats and 50,000 pairs of gumboots. Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla handed over the consignment to Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzel Hussain Chowdhury Maya on Wednesday in Chattogram. He said another tranche of relief having one million litres of kerosene oil and 20,000 stoves is expected to arrive soon. Last month India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the provisions have been selected considering the specific needs of the large number of women and children living in the camps and the upcoming monsoon. Click here to read…

MALDIVES
Maldives chief justice sentenced to nearly five months in prison: South China Morning Post
May 09, 2018

A court in the Maldives has sentenced the country’s chief justice to nearly five months in prison on charges of obstructing government administration and justice. The criminal court sentenced Abdulla Saeed to four months and 24 days for allegedly preventing the Supreme Court from receiving letters from the government. Saeed was arrested in February during a political crisis that followed a Supreme Court order for the release and retrial of some of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s jailed political opponents because of alleged violations of due process during their earlier trials. Saeed also faces separate charges of terrorism which carry a longer maximum sentence. Maldives authorities arrested Saeed and another justice who was on the bench which ordered the release of the political prisoners, including Mohamed Nasheed. Click here to read…

CHINA
China urges salvaging of Iran nuclear deal: People's Daily
May 10, 2018

China on Wednesday urged the signatories to the Iran nuclear deal to safeguard the integrity of the agreement after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the pact, raising the risk of confrontation in the Middle East and casting a shadow on the upcoming US-North Korea nuclear negotiations. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Wednesday that China regrets the US decision to leave the deal. Click here to read…

China, Japan, South Korea say resounding "no" to protectionism: People's Daily
May 10, 2018

China, Japan and South Korea injected fresh confidence into global growth on Wednesday by reaffirming their commitment to economic globalization as well as trade and investment liberalization. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the pledge here at a trilateral meeting, giving a big boost for free trade against a rising undercurrent of protectionism in the world. Click here to read…

Xi calls on China, U.S. to maintain communication on trade issue: Xinhuanet
May 09, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China and the United States should maintain communication to try to find a way to properly solve their trade issue and achieve mutually beneficial and win-win results. Xi made the remarks during a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. The two leaders also exchanged views on China-U.S. relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Xi said the development of China-U.S. relations is now at an important stage, adding that he highly values the development of bilateral ties and cherishes his good working relationship with Trump. Click here to read…

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