VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 15th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Petition for treason filed against Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan: Economic Times
May 14, 2018

A petition was filed today in a Pakistani court to register a treason case against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his controversial remarks questioning the policy to allow the "non-state actors" to cross the border and "kill" people in Mumbai in 2008. The petition was filed in the Lahore High Court by advocate Aftab Virk on behalf of Pakistan Awaami Tehreek's Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, alleging that Sharif's statement is against national security and state institution. Sharif on Saturday publicly acknowledged in an interview that militant organisations are active in Pakistan and questioned the policy to allow the "non-state actors" to cross the border and "kill" people in Mumbai. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
New framework for talks with Afghanistan becomes operational: Dawn
May 15, 2018

The new Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral engagement framework — Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) — became operational on Monday with both sides hoping that its implementation would contribute to promoting peace in the region. “Both sides agreed that effective and full implementation of APAPPS would contribute towards the common objectives of eliminating terrorism and achieving peace, stability, prosperity and development of the people of the two countries,” a statement jointly issued by the foreign ministries of Pakistan and Afghanistan said. Earlier, the Foreign Office hosted a meeting of APAPPS. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani side at the meeting, whereas Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai headed the Afghan delegation. It was the fourth meeting of APAPPS. Click here to read...

Efforts on to free Afghan, Indian engineers in Baghlan: Pajhwok
May 14, 2018

Efforts for the release of Afghan and Indian engineers have been underway in northern Baghlan province, an official said on Monday. The Taliban have kidnapped one Afghan and six Indian engineers working with the Da Afghanistan Breshana Shirkat (DABS) from the Mulayan village of Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital a week earlier. Provincial Council (PC) Head Safdar Muhseni told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban should release the captive engineers unconditionally because they had been working in civil services. He said the reason behind the abduction of engineers could not be ascertained as yet but efforts were on to rescue them. He did not name anyone but alleged that some government officials cooperated in the abduction of DABS engineers for the sake of money. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepal is totally load-shedding free: The Himalayan Times
May 14, 2018

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has declared the nation as load-shedding free from Monday. The three hours of load-shedding that the industries had to bear with has also been removed from today which has made the country totally load-shedding free, said Kul Man Ghising, managing director of NEA. NEA will be able to sustain the supply during winter as well as the 456-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project will start generating power by the end of this year and some private sector projects will also be completed, as per Ghising. Till date, the power utility had been cutting electricity to industries for three hours a day during peak time to meet the domestic demand from available electricity supply. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
U.S. criticizes China for shielding Myanmar from U.N. action: Reuters
May 15, 2018

The United States indirectly criticized China on Monday for shielding Myanmar from strong U.N. Security Council action over a military crackdown against mainly Rohingya Muslims that the U.S. and other countries have denounced as ethnic cleansing. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley did not mention China by name, but China proposed substantial amendments to a British-drafted Security Council statement on Myanmar last week. The 15-member council eventually agreed a weaker statement. The Security Council met on Monday to discuss a visit by envoys to Myanmar and Bangladesh two weeks ago. Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August last year sparked a military operation that sent nearly 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Click here to read...

CHINA
President: HK vital for national sci-tech development: People's Daily
May 15, 2018

President Xi Jinping said he supports Hong Kong becoming an international center for innovative science and technology. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark in an instruction released on Monday. In June, 24 academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering who were working in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region wrote a letter to Xi to express their will to contribute to the country and their enthusiasm for developing innovative science and technology. Click here to read...

China, Trinidad and Tobago pledge pragmatic cooperation: China Daily
May 15, 2018

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, and they agreed to expand cooperation in infrastructure construction, finance and other areas. Li said Trinidad and Tobago was among the first Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic ties with China. "The Chinese government attaches importance to its ties with Trinidad and Tobago," Li said, noting that "China is willing to work with Trinidad and Tobago to consolidate political trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs to lift bilateral relations to a new high." Click here to read...

Xi's envoy, Trump trade team to meet: People's Daily
May 15, 2018

Vice-Premier Liu He will visit the United States as President Xi Jinping's special envoy from Tuesday to Saturday for economic and trade talks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. Liu will lead a delegation in talks with the US team headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the invitation of the US administration, said Lu Kang, the ministry's spokesman. These will follow high-level meetings in Beijing on May 3 and 4. Both sides are expected to continue discussing issues like expansion of US exports to China, trade in services, two-way investment, the protection of intellectual property rights and the resolution of tariff and non-tariff measures, said Tu Xinquan, a trade professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. Click here to read...

Donald Trump not breaking election promise by aiding crippled Chinese telecoms firm ZTE, White House says: South China Morning Post
May 15, 2018

US President Donald Trump has been tough on China on trade, and his tweet over the weekend about helping big Chinese telecoms company ZTE Corp get back on its feet is not an indication that the president is backing down from his election campaign promises, the White House said on Monday. Click here to read...

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