VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 25th May, 2018
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PAKISTAN
US envoys treated badly in Pakistan, Pompeo tells Congress: Dawn
May 25, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has informed the Congress that American officials are treated badly in Pakistan, adding that Washington released “far fewer funds” to Pakistan in 2018 and may give even less next year. The decision to raise the issue of mistreatment of US officials in Pakistan during a public hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee indicates that Islamabad’s once close relationship with Washington has almost ended and Pakistan is now treated as an adversary. “My officers, our state department officers are being treated badly as well, folks working in the embassies and councils [and] in other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either,” said Mr Pompeo during a debate on the US State Department’s budget requests for the next fiscal year. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Dostum-ARG Relations On The Mend: First VP’s Office: Tolo News
May 25, 2018

Office of President Ashraf Ghani’s First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum on Thursday said that relations between Dostum and the Presidential Palace (ARG) were improving, but officials gave no details about when Dostum would return to Kabul. However, Dostum said in a recent telephonic conversation with President Ashraf Ghani that he wants to return home, said Enayatullah Babur Farahmand, head of Dostum’s office. Members of the public meanwhile said that Dostum has the right to return to his country – the same as any other Afghan. However, they said government should finalize the case of abduction, assault and sexual assault against Dostum involving former Jawzjan governor Ahmad Eshchi. “He has a case at the attorney (general’s office), his case must be probed like every other citizen,” said one resident of Kabul, Aman. “General Dostum must return to the country, the case of every citizen of this country must be addressed so that justice is awarded to the right person,” said another resident Rashid. Dostum left Afghanistan a year ago amid the accusations. He flew to Turkey for medical treatment, he said at the time. Click here to read...

NEPAL
$1.21b Nijgadh Int’l Airport project cleared for takeoff: Kathmandu Post

The Environment Ministry has approved the environmental and social impact assessment of the planned $1.21 billion Nijgadh International Airport project in Bara paving the way for the construction of the much-delayed air hub. The Forest Ministry allowed the Tourism Ministry to conduct the study in February 2017. The report, which was approved on Wednesday, has laid down a number of directives to minimise environmental and social impacts. The planned construction site lies amid dense forests and will be spread over 8,000 hectares. Located 175 km south of Kathmandu, Nijgadh is expected to be the biggest airport in South Asia in terms of area. More than 2.4 million small and large trees will have to be cut down to build the much talked about modern international airport. Around 800,000 big trees will have to be felled. “That is massive destruction, but it can be minimised if some alternatives are taken into consideration,” said an Environment Ministry officials. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA
Over 6000 Chinese employed in Sri Lanka on projects: The Sunday Leader
May 25, 2018

Over 6000 Chinese are employed in Sri Lanka on various projects, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said. Yang Zuoyuan, the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said that most Chinese are in Sri Lanka to provide technical training to the Sri Lankans involved in joint China-Sri Lanka projects. Chinese workers are involved in the port city project in Colombo, Hambantota port project, highway projects as well as in the construction of key high-rise buildings. Zuoyuan however noted that in the case of joint China-Sri Lanka state projects the Chinese company involved must obtain approval from Sri Lanka to recruit Chinese employeesClick here to read...

MYANMAR
Armed Rohingya group massacred dozens of Hindus in Myanmar, Amnesty International says: India Today
May 24, 2018

An armed Rohingya group is believed to have killed nearly a hundred Hindu women, men and children in Rakhine state on Myanmar's west coast, the human rights NGO Amnesty International says. Ever since an exodus of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh began last year -- in the wake of the Myanmarese military's response to insurgent attacks in Rakhine state -- much of the global community's attention has focused on the plight of these refugees. In a report published Tuesday, Amnesty said its findings were based on "dozens of interviews" in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, and on "photographic evidence analysed by forensic pathologists." Click here to read...

CHINA
Xi, Merkel aim for stronger ties: China Daily
May 25, 2018

Germany is invited to seize opportunities created by China's new round of opening-up, and the two countries should cooperate more on industries of the future, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday. Xi made the remarks while meeting with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. It's the German leader's 11th visit to China. Click here to read...

Pentagon bashed for omitting PLA from RIMPAC: China Daily
May 25, 2018

China slammed the Pentagon on Thursday for canceling the Chinese military's invitation to the 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, calling the move rash, unconstructive and futile in changing China's determination to protect sovereignty and maintain regional peace and stability. The United States has disregarded facts and recently hyped China's so-called militarization of the South China Sea, and used it as an excuse to revoke China's invitation to the joint military exercise, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said in an online statement on Thursday. Click here to read...

The Confucius Institute, a bridge between China and the world: People’s Daily
May 25, 2018

Prior to the end of 2017, China had built 525 Confucius Institutes and 1113 Confucius Classrooms in 146 countries and regions, which have played an important role in strengthening cooperation in education and cultural communication between China and other countries, meanwhile improving mutual understanding and friendship. Click here to read...

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