VIF Neighborhood News Digest: August 27, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Pakistan does not want escalation, says foreign minister: Dawn
August 27, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday dismissed India’s ‘all is well’ in occupied Kashmir mantra as “deceptive”. He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Annexation of Occupied Kashmir by Modi’s India: Challenges and Responses’ organised by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. US President Donald Trump, who has recently on a couple of occasions offered mediation on Kashmir dispute, after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G-7 Summit in France said: “We spoke last night about Kashmir, prime minister really feels he has it under control.” Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
US And Taliban Make Progress On ‘Safe Zones’: Sources: Tolo
August 27, 2019

The US and the Taliban negotiators have made progress on establishing safe zones once the American forces started leaving Afghanistan, sources familiar with the ninth round of the talks in Doha said. The sources said that based on the safe zone strategy, there will be ceasefire announced in every province from where US forces would leave while nationwide ceasefire will be implemented after the complete withdrawal of American forces. A Taliban spokesman in Doha Suhai Shaheen who is also part of the group’s negotiating team said in a tweet on Monday that last the two sides had lengthy discussions on Sunday evening which lasted until midnight and today, Monday, the Taliban will convene an internal meeting after which they will again resume discussions with the US negotiators. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Bangladesh posts current account deficit of 5.25 billion USD in FY 2018-19: Xinhuanet
August 27, 2019

Bangladesh registered a current account deficit of over 5 billion U.S. dollars in the 2018-19 fiscal, meaning the country absorbed more than what it produced in the last fiscal year, a central bank official said Monday. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) official told Xinhua that the current account balance showed a deficit of 5,254 million U.S. dollars in the last fiscal year 2018-19 (July 2018-June 2019) against the deficit of 9,567 million U.S. dollars in the previous fiscal year (July 2017-June 2018). The BB official said the current account deficit narrowed in the last fiscal year as both exports and remittances logged a big gain. Click here to read...

Myanmar
More than K9 billion required for flood prevention measures: The Myanmar Times
August 27, 2019

To prevent farmland flooding, more than K9 billion will be needed to repair creeks and ditches that have silted up, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. Creeks and ditches that have silted up cause water levels in rivers to rise, so the ministry will repair these waterways, said ministry Deputy Secretary U Myo Tint Tun. As of Friday, more than 550,000 acres of farmland were under water and more than 79,000 acres were damaged by flooding in Myanmar. Around 10,000 acres of farmland have been replanted, and it is up to farmers to continue planting in damaged farmland, he said. “Some were flooded after being planted and some were flooded near to the harvest, so we can’t calculate how much money has been lost due to the different situations,” U Myo Tint Tun said. Click here to read...

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka urged to tackle 'hate propaganda' against Muslims: Al Jazeera
August 27, 2019

A United Nations human rights expert has called on Sri Lanka to take urgent action on "hate propaganda targeting Muslim communities" following a spate of deadly attacks on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, issued the call on Monday at the end of a 12-day mission to the Buddhist-majority country in the Indian Ocean. Click here to read...

Bhutan
Canada to invest in Bhutanese projects: Kuensel
August 27, 2019

The government of Canada through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives will invest in projects in Bhutan. According to the Canadian ambassador to Bhutan in New Delhi, Nadir Patel, who was in the country last week, his government will invest Nu 2.7 million (M) in three projects, which will be implemented this year. The fund would be used to support gender empowerment through expanded access to medical care, skills development, and gender-responsive public services. The fund will be given to Bhutan Cancer Society, the Handicrafts Association of Bhutan and the Royal Institute of Management. Click here to read...

Nepal
Nepal and India are unlikely to meet the 2022 deadline for completing bilateral boundary work: The Kathmandu Post
August 27, 2019

Nepal and India are set to miss the 2022 deadline for completing the bilateral boundary work. The deadline was set by the highest-level joint technical body entrusted with the construction, restoration and repairing of boundary pillars, including the clearance of ‘no-man’s land’. Initially, a meeting of Survey Officials’ Committee in Dehradun in December 2015 had agreed to complete the remaining works, except in Susta and Kalapani, the most contentious border points between Nepal and India, within four years—by 2019. The fourth meeting of the Nepal-India Boundary Working Group, held again in Dehradun two years later, had decided to complete the work by 2022, citing a lack of adequate progress in the field work. The last meeting of the group held in Kathmandu last year had also set the same 2022 deadline. Click here to read...

China
Xinhua Headlines: China delivers greater reform, opening up with six new FTZs: Xinhuanet
August 27, 2019

China on Monday announced a master plan for six new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in a strategic move to press ahead with reform and opening up in the new era. The new pilot FTZs will be located in the six provincial-level regions of Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Hebei, Yunnan and Heilongjiang, according to the plan released by the State Council. Click here to read...

Hong Kong protests 2019 vs Occupy Central: after 79 days, retailers, investors, developers hit far worse by this year’s demonstrations: South China Morning Post
August 27, 2019

On Monday, Hong Kong’s protests reached the 79-day mark, the point at which Occupy Central ended. The ongoing protests have clobbered Hong Kong’s economy – from its all-important property market and stock exchange to its shop owners and its banks – in a way the earlier pro-democracy effort did not five years ago. Click here to read...

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