VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 1st January, 2019
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PAKISTAN
Shahbaz as PAC chief: IHC reserves ruling on petition’s maintainability: Dawn
January 1, 2019

The Islamabad High Court on Monday reserved its decision on the maintainability of a petition filed against the appointment of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). “Let’s have confidence in parliament and wait for our orders,” was the closing remarks of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah before a division bench comprising Justice Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani reserved the decision. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Iran says Afghan Taliban were in Tehran for peace talks: Dawn
January 1, 2019

Iran said on Monday that the Afghan Taliban have visited Tehran for a second round of peace talks in just a few days aimed at bringing an end to 17 years of conflict. Iran has made a more concerted and open push for peace in neighbouring Afghanistan since US President Donald Trump indicated there would be a significant withdrawal of American troops. “Yesterday (Sunday), a delegation of Taliban were in Tehran and lengthy negotiations were held with Iran’s deputy foreign minister... (Abbas) Ara­ghchi,” said spokesman Bahram Gha­semi at a televised news conference. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Trade deficit yawns to Rs570b: Kathmandu Post
January 1, 2019

Nepal’s trade deficit widened to Rs569.50 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year as imports of oil, construction materials, machinery, automobiles, electric appliances and airplane parts soared, according to Trade and Export Promotion Centre statistics. These products accounted for 49 percent of the country’s total import bill. According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, the trade deficit increased 35.5 percent year-on-year. As per the trade facilitation body, the trade deficit reached Rs115.03 billion last month (mid-November to mid-December). The import to export ratio jumped to 16.2:1, which means Nepal spent Rs16.2 on imports for every rupee it earned from exports. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
PM Modi Calls Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina, Congratulates Her For Poll Win: NDTV
January 1, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina today and conveyed his heartiest congratulations on her party's decisive victory in the parliamentary elections. The Ministry of External Affairs said that PM Modi has expressed confidence that the partnership between India and Bangladesh will continue to flourish under Sheikh Hasina's "far-sighted" leadership. Sheikh Hasina also thanked Prime Minister Modi for being the first leader to call her to convey his congratulations. "The PM also reiterated the priority India attaches to Bangladesh as a neighbour, a close partner for regional development, security and cooperation, and a central pillar in India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Click here to read...

CHINA
President Xi delivers New Year speech: People's Daily
January 1, 2019

President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year speech Monday evening on the eve of the year 2019. Click here to read...

Yearender: Highlights of "Xiplomacy" in 2018: Xinhuanet
January 1, 2019

Over the past year, China's diplomacy has opened new prospects and achieved new progress under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core. Here are some of the highlights of "Xiplomacy" in 2018: Click here to read...

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