VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 14th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
National Security Committee meeting on Nawaz remarks today: ISPR: Dawn
May 14, 2018

In a rare development, the military authorities on Sunday announced that a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), the country’s top civil-military body, had been called on Monday (today) to consider the situation arising out of the recent remarks of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif about the 2008 Mumbai attacks as differences within the ruling party surfaced following the issuance of contradictory statements by the Sharif brothers on the issue. The Prime Minister Office, however, opted to stay silent as there was no announcement from the government side regarding the convening of the NSC meeting. “(The) NSC meeting suggested to (the) prime minister to discuss recent misleading media statement regarding Bombay (Mumbai) incident. Being held tomorrow (Monday) morning,” tweeted Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor through his official account on Twitter. Click here to read...

Won’t rest until Musharaf, Rao Anwar and Ehsanullah dealt with under the law: Manzoor: Daily Times
May 14, 2018

After arriving at the jalsa venue following a 36-hour road trip across the country, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen said on Sunday that he would not rest until former dictator General Pervaiz Musharaf, former Malir SSP Rao Anwar and TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan were dealt with in accordance with the law of the land for their crimes. Earlier, PTM leader Ali Wazir said, “Our struggle is for all the marginalised communities of Pakistan. We’re fighting the case of Pashtuns, Sindhis, Baloch, and Gilgitis.” With an ajrak on his shoulders, the PTM leader said that their struggle must not be given an ethnic colour, adding that they were fighting for the constitutional rule in the country. While activists and sympathisers of the movement had been enduring harassment and intimidation tactics ever since it started its ongoing series of gatherings, the Sunday’s jalsa in Karachi saw an unprecedented wave of repression, according to movement supporters and sympathisers. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Forces Retreat From High Risk Areas To Avoid Casualties: Tolo
May 13, 2018

In the last week Afghan security forces suffered heavy losses in clashes against insurgents across the country, but on Sunday the Afghan interior ministry said that security forces have retreated from some areas that have high threat levels so as to avoid additional fatalities. According to security departments, in the last 19 days, since the start of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive, the group has carried out over 2,700 attacks which resulted in high fatality rates to both security forces and Taliban militants. During this time, Kohistan district in Badakhshan province, Belchiragh district in Faryab province and Tala Wa Barfak district in Baghlan province have fallen to the Taliban. Tala Wa Barfak are still under the control of the group while the other two have been retaken from the group. Interior spokesman Najib Danish said they have plans to improve management regarding the security situation. “If we see that security forces suffer heavy losses in an area, we call them to pull back to avoid fatalities,” Danish said. Click here to read...

NEPAL
PM Oli to visit China in June: Kathmandu Post
May 14, 2018

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is embarking on a state visit to China in June after presentation of the federal budget on May 29. PM Oli, who advocates a balanced and independent foreign policy and a good neighbourhood policy, visited India in April. As Oli tours China next month, agreements reached during his visit to Beijing in 2016 are expected to be expedited. Both sides are working on the date of the visit said to be timed around the 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) scheduled for June 9 and 10. Nepal, an observer at the SCO, will have lower-level participation in the summit. “I’m going to China very soon,” said PM Oli, while informing Parliament about the outcome of the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that concluded on Saturday. Stating that the major goal of his China visit would be to strengthen bilateral relations, Oli said he seeks to broaden Nepal’s relations with other friendly nation. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Bangladesh launches its first satellite, 'Bangabandhu-1': Times of India
May 13, 2018

Bangladesh launched its first satellite, "Bangabandhu-1", on Saturday, becoming the 57th nation in the world and fourth in South Asia after India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to own a satellite. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted the communication satellite, named after the Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, early in the morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida, bdnews24.com reported. Rahman is popularly known under the title of Bangabandhu (Bôngobondhu "Friend of Bengal"). It was successfully deployed at Bangladesh's specified orbit slot "within 36 minutes" of the launch and two ground stations in Bangladesh received test signals from it, said State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak at the Kennedy Space Centre in the US. Experts said that the country's first geostationary communication satellite will give extra pace to the digitisation process. It will help expand Internet and telecommunication services in remote and rugged areas which still remained beyond the coverage. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Thaw in military ties as India sends warship to Maldives: The Economic Times
May 12, 2018

In an indication of a slight upswing in bilateral military ties after a distinct chill, India has dispatched a warship to Maldives to undertake joint surveillance and patrol of the archipelago’s sprawling exclusive economic zone. Two officers and eight sailors from the Indian Navy’s marine commandos wing are also currently at Maafilhafushi in Maldives, 145 km north of Male, to train its personnel in diving and tactics under the second asymmetric warfare training exercise called “Ekatha”. from April 28 to May 15. “It is an endeavour of the Indian government and Navy to ensure safety and security of the vast EEZ of the island nation,” said Navy spokesperson Captain D K Sharma on Friday. Click here to read...

CHINA
First carrier designed in China begins sea trial: People's Daily
May 14, 2018

Tests will focus on reliability, capability of new vessel's propulsion systems. China's first domestically designed aircraft carrier set out its maiden sea trial on Sunday morning, indicating it might not be long before it is delivered to the Chinese Navy. The colossal vessel, which displaces 50,000 metric tons, left the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry's shipyard in Liaoning province about 7 am amid thick fog with the assistance of several tugboats before navigating into the sea under its own power. Click here to read...

Ambassador cautions against "glass curtain" between China, U.S.: People's Daily
May 14, 2018

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has cautioned that some people in the United States are trying to place a "glass curtain" between the two countries, calling for enhanced dialogue to eliminate the "deficit of mutual understanding." Click here to read...

How China is trying to impose Islam with Chinese characteristics in the Hui Muslim heartland: South China Morning Post
May 14, 2018

Every Friday, the Nanguan Grand Mosque springs to life as local Hui Muslims from Yinchuan, capital of their official heartland, gather for the most important prayer of the week. Just after midday, men in white prayer caps file into the mosque and disappear behind a gate adorned with gold Islamic motifs and three green domes, each topped with a silver crescent moon that gleams in the sun. It was one of the country’s first Middle Eastern-style mosques, built in 1981 to replace a Chinese one that fell victim to the Cultural Revolution – a decade of mayhem from 1966 that saw thousands of temples, churches, mosques and monasteries defaced or destroyed across the country. Click here to read...

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