VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 22nd May, 2018
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PAKISTAN

Pakistan, World Bank resume talks to settle water dispute with India: Dawn
May 22, 2018

Pakistan engaged the World Bank on Monday for arbitration in settling its water dispute with India, which opened a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme earlier this week for harnessing the flow of the Neelum River. The World Bank and the four-member Pakistani delegation, which arrived in Washington on Sunday for the talks, are refusing to disclose the details of the talks on an issue which can have disastrous consequences for Pakistan, if not handled aptly. “The meetings are scheduled for today and tomorrow,” said a World Bank spokesperson Elena Karaban. “We can update you later as needed,” said she when asked for comments. The Pakistani delegation, which is led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, avoided the media as well. The talks would cover four key points: the height of the dam built on the Kishanganga River, its capacity to hold water, Pakistan’s demand for setting up a court of arbitration to settle the dispute and India’s counter-demand for an international expert.Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Work On CASA-1000 To Start By Year End: Tolo News
May 21, 2018

Officials on Monday said construction work of the CASA-1000 power transmission project will start by the end of this year in Afghanistan. CASA-1000 is a power transmission line that will transfer 1,300-megawatt of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Pakistan. The power transmission line will run through seven provinces in Afghanistan and will end in Pakistan. The contract of the project was signed between the four nations in 2007 and based on the contract, the project will be implemented by 2020. “CASA-1000’s plans will be complete in the next three months. And then after signing the contracts for the converter stations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the construction phase will start in Afghanistan,” Wahidullah Tawhidi, DABS spokesman said. “For seven months (each year) there is no electricity in the cables and free access has been given to all exporters (power exporters) to export their electricity through this transmission cable,” Shekib Ahmad Nisar, an energy expert said. In addition to creating job opportunities for hundreds of people, Afghanistan will earn $40 million USD a year in power transmission fees.Click here to read...

NEPAL

Govt sets ambitious growth targets: Kathmandu Post
May 22, 2018

President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Monday presented the government’s policies and programmes in the federal parliament, setting ambitious goals of doubling the per capita income in five years and making the country a middle income nation within a decade. The first ever annual policies of the federal government claim to lay the foundation for national prosperity, focusing mainly on economic prosperity through development in the sectors of agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, industries, technology and urban development. The document presented to the joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly stresses turning the import-based economy into one based on production, jobs creation, self-sufficiency and exports. National capital and remittance would be mobilized in the productive sector to realise the prosperity dream.Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Bangabandhu-I satellite reaches orbital position: Bangladesh Observer
May 22, 2018

Bangabandhu satellite -I (BS-I), Bangladesh's first geostationary communication, has reached the desired location (orbital slot) 10 days after of it was launched from Florida. "Our satellite has taken its position and started functioning normally," Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) Managing Director Md. Saiful Islam told BSS on Monday. The BS-I was successfully launched from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida of United States 16:14 local time (02:14 BST) on May 11. Most modern rocket "Block 5" version of the Falcon 9 of SpaceX has lifted the BS-I for the orbit located at 119.1 degree east, reports BSS. The BCSCL Managing Director said now they will conduct a series of tests before starting commercial operation. "Within three months, we will go into commercial operation," added Islam. Officials said BS-I will move round the earth once in every 24 hours positioning on 36,000 kilometers height with the similar pace of the earth. Immediately after the launch by the Block 5 of Falcon 9, the BS-I travelled 35,700 kilometers and then it took ten days to travel another 300 kilometers. This process is termed "launch and early orbit phase".Click here to read...

CHINA

US urged to not overreact on S. China Sea training: China Daily
May 22, 2018

The recent landing of bomber aircraft on a South China Sea island by the People's Liberation Army Air Force is part of normal training that should not be over-interpreted, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday. Lu made the remark when he was requested to comment on the reaction of the United States and the Philippines to the exercises.Click here to read...

China secures core interests in trade talks: People’s Daily
May 22, 2018

Though details of a trade truce between China and the US remain murky, early signs suggest that the Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He had secured China's core interests in trade negotiations with US officials, while averting a brewing trade war, Chinese analysts said.Click here to read...

China to import more gas from US: People’s Daily
May 22, 2018

China's natural gas imports, which currently account for more than 30 percent of domestic consumption, will continue to rise and boost Sino-US energy trade while changing the global market pattern, experts said. The nation's growing demand for natural gas, under a policy to replace polluting coal with clean natural gas to combat air pollution, is set to attract more energy majors worldwide to meet the demand, while a more diversified and flexible natural gas import channel will also help ensure national energy security, said Li Li, research director at energy consulting company ICIS China.Click here to read...

PLA marches on social media to gain public support: People’s Daily
May 21, 2018

A recruitment video filled with rap lyrics and sci-fi weaponry, patriotic cartoons featuring endearing animal characters and computer games teaching the public to understand basic military skills – the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been adopting creative approaches to introduce itself to the world, gaining ground in the global military publicity arena.Click here to read...

First stop, Russia: why China’s new foreign policy supremo Wang Qishan is looking to Moscow: South China Morning Post
May 21, 2018

Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan heads to Russia this week on his maiden overseas trip since assuming his new foreign policy role, with Beijing looking to hedge bets as it tussles with Washington over trade and geopolitics.Click here to read...

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