VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 24th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN

Water talks failed to produce agreement: World Bank: Dawn
May 24, 2018

The World Bank on Wednesday announced that two days of talks with a Pakistani delegation did not lead to an agreement on the way forward in Pakistan’s water dispute with India. A four-member Pakistani delegation arrived in Washington on Sunday, a day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a controversial dam in India-held Kashmir, for talks with senior World Bank officials. Pakistan fears the dam will reduce its share in the waters of the Indus and its tributaries and will also damage the ecosystem of the Neelum and Jhelum rivers. The World Bank said that senior bank officials met the Pakistani team, at their request, on May 21-22 and discussed issues regarding the Indus Waters Treaty and opportunities within the treaty to seek an amicable solution to the India-Pakistan water dispute.Click here to read...

‘More than 3,000 Hazaras killed since Sept 11, 2011’: Dawn
May 24, 2018

More than 3,000 members of the Hazara community have been killed since Sept 11, 2011 according to official figures while unofficial reports say 4,000 Hazaras have been killed in the same time, most of whom are men. Briefing the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday lawyer and human rights activist Jalila Haider said the committee should look into the plight of the Hazara community where 10,000 plus women and children are living in abject conditions with restricted rights of freedom of expression and movement. The committee was meeting for a briefing on causes for recent attacks and the measures taken to ensure safety of the minority community. “More than 90,000 Hazara families have migrated to other countries through fair means or fowl, only to live in worst conditions. They must be brought back and rehabilitated,” Ms Haider said. She also blamed the Balochistan government for instilling fear in the Hazara community instead of guaranteeing their safety.Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Emerges from Elite Units: WSJ
May 22, 2018

Lt. Gen. Scott Miller has been chosen as the next commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, according to senior military officials, after two years in charge of the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command. Gen. Miller, a decorated special-operations soldier, will be the ninth U.S. general in 17 years to take charge of the war in Afghanistan and the first to be appointed under President Donald Trump. The Pentagon declined to comment until the decision is formally announced. As JSOC commander, Gen. Miller headed some of America’s most-secretive missions, pursuing suspected terrorists around the world with drones and elite units that included the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEAL Team Six. Among those operations, he was a captain in charge of a contingent of Delta Force in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, recounted in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.” He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service there and later served multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.Click here to read...

NEPAL

RJPN may join govt if amendment pledged: My Republia
May 24, 2018

Leaders of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have said that their party is ready to join the government if the latter gives unequivocal assurance to amend the constitution. In a meeting with Prime Minister KP Oli at his residence in Baluwatar on Tuesday evening, RJPN leaders said that they were eager to be part of the ruling coalition but the government should first make environment toward that end. RJPN has been demanding some changes in the constitutional provisions pertaining to redrawing of provincial boundaries and citizenship. “We are open to the possibility of joining the government if the government creates conducive environment,” Mahendra Yadav, one of the six leaders in RJPN presidium, told Republica. Tuesday’s development is being seen as meaningful as it comes in backdrop of growing rift between the government and the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN).Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh: Landslides Threaten Rohingya Shelters: Human Rights Watch
May 23, 2018

Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh are at imminent risk of landslides, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing a new online video. Bangladesh authorities, with the assistance of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, should urgently relocate refugees to safer ground.

Thousands of hand-built tarpaulin and bamboo shelters are threatened by strong winds and cyclones during the coming monsoon season. Rohingya refugees living on the steep, deforested slopes of sand and clay in the Kutupalong-Balukhali camps face added dangers of landslides. Altogether over 700,000 recent Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are living in camps in Bangladesh. “The situation in the Rohingya camps is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Already, after a few bouts of rain, some shelters were blown away and the narrow paths are slippery and dangerous.”Click here to read...

CHINA

Navy strives to be modern, strong as commander urged: China Daily
May 24, 2018

A year since an inspection by President Xi Jinping, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, the People's Liberation Army Navy has made massive strides in transforming itself into a world-class force, experts said. In the past 12 months, the Navy has conducted a number of warfare drills in open seas, taken part in bilateral or international naval exercises, made several overseas visits and established the nation's first overseas support base.Click here to read...

Xi: Audits to bolster clean governance: People’s Daily
May 24, 2018

President Xi Jinping urged on Wednesday the establishment of an authoritative and efficient audit system to boost clean governance and better supervise the country's public sectors. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the first meeting of the Audit Commission of the CPC Central Committee.Click here to read...

US urged to respond positively to N.Korea’s dismantlement: People’s Daily
May 24, 2018

North Korea has demonstrated its resolve to denuclearize by inviting foreign journalists to witness the dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site this week, said Chinese experts, who urge the US to respond positively to the move. The date for the decommissioning of the facility has yet to be announced, but it is expected to happen Thursday or Friday if local weather conditions improve, the Xinhua News Agency reported.Click here to read...

Five things to watch out for during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to China: South China Morning Post
May 24, 2018

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel begins a two-day visit to China on Thursday. During her trip she will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Merkel will also visit Shenzhen in southern China on Friday where her itinerary will include the opening of an innovation hub hosted by the German Chamber of Commerce and a trip to a Chinese start-up company.Click here to read...

US diplomat in China shows symptoms of ‘mild’ brain injury in case that echoes mystery Cuban embassy illness: South China Morning Post
May 24, 2018

A US government employee in southern China has shown signs of a “mild traumatic brain injury” after reporting abnormal sounds and air pressure in a case that recalls the mystery illness that hit American diplomats serving in Cuba.Click here to read...

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