VIF Neighborhood News Digest: December 12, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Moscow promises talks on supply of aircraft to PIA: Dawn
December 12, 2019

Pakistan and Russia have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, aviation, economic and energy sectors and translate it into tangible investments in various sectors. At the conclusion of the sixth session of the Pakistan-Russia Inter Governmental Commission (IGC) on trade, economic and scientific and technical cooperation here on Wednesday, the Russian side also promised to start negotiations on supply and after-sales service of 6-16 Sukhoi SuperJet-100 aircraft to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the first quarter of 2020. Click here to read..

AFGHANISTAN
Taliban-claimed Bagram Attack Raises Questions about Peace Talks: Tolo
December 12, 2019

As the renewed round of peace negotiation talks between the US and the Taliban entered their fifth day in Qatar, the group in a statement on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack near Bagram base in the northern province of Parwan. Two civilians were killed and 73 people were wounded--mostly civilians--in the coordinated attack. There are concerns that such attacks could have a negative impact on the peace process. Meanwhile, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai in an interview with the Associated Press criticized the US for continuing what he described as heavy military operations while asking for a ceasefire. Click here to read..

BANGLADESH
Dhaka dismisses any repression on minorities: Dhaka Tribune
December 12, 2019

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has ruled out any repression on minorities in Bangladesh saying any deviation from India's historic position as a tolerant and secular nation might weaken India. "In our country, religious harmony is at a very high level. No one from other religions is oppressed here. We have respect for all religions. We see those (minorities) in equal eyes and as the citizens of Bangladesh," he said on Wednesday. The foreign minister was talking to reporters after his meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller and Japanese Ambassador Naoki Ito at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka, reports UNB. Click here to read..

MYANMAR
Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar against genocide allegations: Al Jazeera
December 12, 2019

Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has defended Myanmar's military against genocide allegations made at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) amid accusations of mass killings, rape and expulsion of the Rohingya Muslim minority. The Gambia, a small West African country, filed the case at the ICJ in The Hague, the United Nations' highest court, alleging it violated the 1948 Genocide Convention. Click here to read..

SRI LANKA
SLFP should help govt. obtain two-thirds majority: Maithri: Daily Mirror
December 12, 2019

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) should support the new government to obtain a two-thirds majority at the next general election, former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena said today. He made this remark at a meeting held at the party headquarters with electoral organizers to review the party’s progress. Mr. Sirisena said the new government should obtain a two-thirds majority at the next parliamentary elections so that President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could create a prosperous country. He added that the SLFP should be committed to achieving that goal. Click here to read..

NEPAL
As ruling party readies to elevate Bamdev Gautam to vice-chair, not everyone is on board: The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019

The ruling Nepali Communist Party is set to amend its statute to elevate senior leader Bamdev Gautam to the post of vice-chairman but many insiders are questioning the rationale behind giving undue importance to one individual. The leadership— particularly co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal—even appears ready to send Gautam to the National Assembly, say insiders. Click here to read..

BHUTAN
Mega drug consignment via courier busted in Thimphu: Kuenselonline
December 12, 2019

Thimphu police has seized 19.30 kilograms (kg) of hashish and 600 grams of crystal meth (methamphetamine), both illicit contraband items worth more than USD 600,000 or Nu 42.60 million last week. The items were seized after the police received information from the customs officer at DHL, a courier service based in Thimphu on December 2 of having received two suspicious consignments from DHL office, Phuentsholing. Click here to read..

CHINA
Passing Article 23 an urgent mission for Hong Kong: official: People’s Daily
December 12, 2019

A senior official of the Chinese government responsible for Hong Kong and Macao affairs published an article in the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC) pointing out that Hong Kong has neither passed the national security law nor established any institute for enforcement while Macao has already passed the law and improved a lot, and this is why separatist activities have been intensifying in Hong Kong in recent years. Click here to read..

Chinese mission to UN rejects U.S. ambassador's human rights accusations: Xinhuanet
December 12, 2019

The spokesperson of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday resolutely opposed the U.S. ambassador's interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft's accusations about China's human rights are "baseless" and a gross interference in China's internal affairs, said the spokesperson. Click here to read..

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