VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: April 24, 2019
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PAKISTAN
NA divided on creation of two new provinces: Dawn
April 24, 2019

The National Assembly was a divided house on Tuesday when a constitution amendment bill seeking creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces was introduced. A heated debate took place soon after the bill was introduced by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Rana Sanaullah with some legislators not agreeing with the idea of two provinces, whereas others came out in full support of the bill. After Law Minister Barrister Farogh Nasim said the government had no objection to the bill, it was referred to the committee concerned by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, who was presiding over the sitting in the absence of Speaker Asad Qaiser on a private members’ day. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
UN Notes Decrease In Civilian Casualties But Remains Concerned: Tolo News
April 24, 2019

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says in a quarterly report that it has documented high levels of harm to civilians but adds that there has been a 23 percent decrease in overall civilian casualties as compared to the same period last year and is the lowest for a first quarter since 2013. The report says the UN documented 1,773 civilian casualties (581 deaths and 1,192 injured), including 582 child casualties (150 deaths and 432 injured) between January 1 and March 31. In the first quarter of 2018, UNAMA documented 2,305 civilian casualties (799 deaths and 1,506 injured), including 609 child casualties (176 deaths and 433 injured), the report says. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Progress in two key projects under BRI unlikely during President’s China visit: Kathmandu
April 24, 2019

President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s state visit to China, starting Wednesday, is being seen as an opportunity to open new vistas of cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. But many have expressed scepticism about concrete headway because as of Tuesday Nepal and China did not appear prepared to sign or reach any understanding related to projects that Nepal has selected and shared with the Chinese side under the BRI. At least three senior government officials told the Post in phone interviews on Tuesday that due to time constraints and lack of adequate homework, two projects under the BRI that were expected to make progress during the visit, have been dropped. Click here to read...

CHINA
US to send trade delegation to China next week: CNBC
April 24, 2019

The U.S. will send a high-level delegation to Beijing next week as trade negotiations with China continue. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will head to Beijing for talks that start on April 30, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. They will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Following those talks, Liu will lead a delegation to Washington for further discussions that begin on May 8. Click here to read...

Hong Kong 'Umbrella' protesters sentenced to jail terms: BBC
April 24, 2019

Four Hong Kong activists have been sentenced to up to 16 months in prison for their role in pro-democracy demonstrations. Four others received suspended sentences on Wednesday, while one had their sentencing deferred until June. The nine activists were found guilty earlier this month over their involvement in the "Umbrella Movement". Demonstrators paralysed Hong Kong in 2014 when they demanded the right for the territory to pick its leaders. Judge Johnny Chan handed down the sentences at the West Kowloon Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, citing the "excessive inconvenience and suffering" the movement caused. Click here to read...

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