VIF Neighborhood News Digest: December 9, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Provinces forego uplift plans, return Rs202bn to Centre: Dawn
December 9, 2019

The four provinces jointly provided a whopping cash surplus of Rs202 billion to the Centre during the first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year to help meet its fiscal targets committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This means the provinces did not utilize more than one-fourth (25 per cent) of the funds for the welfare of their citizens made available to them under their total revenue share out of the federal divisible pool. Click here to read....

AFGHANISTAN
Meeting on Afghan Election Did Not Break Impasse: Tolo
December 9, 2019

A meeting on Sunday between election commissioners and campaign teams, political parties, civil society and election observers, in which the electoral standoff was discussed, did not provide solutions to the current standoff. The election campaign teams discussed issues about the Afghan presidential polls, particularly the disputed 300,000 votes, which, according to campaign teams, have delayed the results announcement multiple times. Each participant had three minutes to talk but their differing opinions about the disputed votes stymied the televised meeting. Click here to read....

BANGLADESH
Overuse of chemical fertilizers threatens Kushtia soil fertility: Dhaka Tribune
December 9, 2019

The district was always acclaimed for its fertile soil and high productivity with a recent trend of overusing chemical fertilizers instead of organic ones, to grow larger batches of crops, thus ruining the soil. Cultivating with chemical fertilizers is increasing crop production in Kushtia but threatens the fertility of the soil to a great extent. Kushtia is known for its agrarian enterprises and production of cash crops such as paddy, wheat, jute, and vegetables, which contribute greatly to the country's economy. Click here to read....

MYANMAR
Myanmar leader departs for The Hague in ICJ case: Myanmar Times
December 9, 2019

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has left for The Hague, Netherlands, on Sunday, to defend Myanmar against Gambia’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention. Gambia’s case stemmed from the Tatmadaw’s (military’s) massive crackdown in northern Rakhine State in 2017 that forced over 700,000 Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The international community accused Myanmar of perpetrating systematic abuses against the Muslim minority, including murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities. The government has vehemently denied the accusations and claimed it had already punished troops who were proven to have committed abuses in Rakhine. Click here to read....

SRI LANKA
Swiss local staffer gives a statement to CID: Daily Mirror
December 9, 2019

The Swiss Embassy local staffer-Garnier Banister Francis- who claimed that she was allegedly abducted by unidentified men, today arrived at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and given a statement on the alleged incident, informed sources said. The local staffer arrived at the CID with several diplomatic officials and lawyers in several diplomatic vehicles around 4.30 pm today. Sources said that she was directed to the Chief Judicial Medical Officer for a medical report. Click here to read....

NEPAL
High cost of jet fuel in Kathmandu airport is keeping foreign airlines away: The Kathmandu Post
December 9, 2019

The high cost of aviation fuel at Kathmandu airport is affecting Nepal's tourism industry, a government committee has reported. An eight-member panel headed by former government secretary Suresh Man Shrestha said in a report that the steep cost of fuel was keeping international carriers away, and urged the government to cut prices to put them on par with the global market to boost market confidence. Click here to read....

BHUTAN
DNT members leave in droves within a year: Kuenselonline
December 9, 2019

In what is a deviation from the past trend, political parties have been able to retain their members after the 2018 general election except for the ruling party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT). The DNT today has only 151 registered members after an exodus of its members, according to the latest membership lists of political parties the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has released. More than 11,000 members resigned from the party during the last one year. In 2018, DNT had 11,383 members, which was the highest among all the political parties. Click here to read....

CHINA
Experts say lower GDP no problem: People's Daily
December 9, 2019

Chinese policymakers will likely be more flexible when setting next year's growth target, showing greater tolerance for slower growth in exchange for policy leeway to carry out longer-term reform objectives that are crucial to the country's high-quality development, analysts said on Sunday. Click here to read....

U.S. bill on Xinjiang draws condemnation from various countries: Xinhuanet
December 9, 2019

Foreign countries and experts have joined forces to condemn the passage of the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019" by the U.S. House of Representatives despite China's strong opposition. They said that the U.S. move interferes in China's internal affairs, slanders human rights conditions in Xinjiang, smears China's efforts against terrorism and extremism, and exposes U.S. double standards on anti-terrorism. Click here to read....

India-China joint Army training exercise begins in Meghalaya: The Times of India
December 7, 2019

A joint Army training exercise between India and China 'Hand in Hnad-2019' commenced at the Joint Training Node (JTN) in Meghalay's Umroi on Saturday. Click here to read....

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