VIF Neighborhood News Digest: November 20, 2019
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PAKISTAN

Nawaz lands in London, sets off heated debate: Dawn
November 20, 2019

Ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in London on Tuesday evening for his treatment amid bickering between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) over his departure. The PML-N supreme leader left his Jati Umra residence in Lahore in the morning for the old airport where an air ambulance from Qatar was waiting to take him to his destination. A good number of PML-N leaders and workers gathered both at his residence and the airport. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

US Welcomes Release of AUAF Professors: Tolo
November 20, 2019

The US White House issued a statement on Wednesday responding to the release of Kevin King, American, and Timothy Weeks, Australian, saying: “The Taliban have indicated that the release of the two professors is intended as a goodwill gesture, which the United States welcomes.” It added that the United States condemns the taking of innocent civilians as hostages. The White House statement continued, “Additionally, we welcome the Taliban’s impending release of 10 Afghan prisoners, and the Afghan government’s release of 3 Taliban prisoners,” the statement said. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh suffers as transport strike over new traffic law spreads: Dhaka Tribune
November 20, 2019

Calling a wildcat indefinite strike, a section of transport owners and workers across the country has started to put more pressure on the government to amend the newly enforced Road Transport Act. The strike called by the Bangladesh Truck-Covered-van Goods Transport Owner-Worker Unity Council goes in force from this morning, with owners and workers in over 20 districts already abstaining from operating buses over the past two days. Meanwhile, less number of public transports operated in some cities including Dhaka on Tuesday without any announcement from the owners, leaving the commuters suffering. Click here to read...

MYANMAR

Ethnic armed groups vow to help counter genocide lawsuit: Myanmar Times
November 20, 2019

Government peace negotiators and the 10 ethnic armed groups that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) will help the country counter accusations of genocide in Rakhine State brought against Myanmar in the top UN court. The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), comprised of the 10 groups, said the attacks against Myanmar by the international community undermine the country’s transition to democracy. ‘’We discussed ways to counter the internal and external attacks that seek to undermine the Union’s image,’’ the group said in a statement after a meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Monday. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA

Prime Minister resigns today: Daily Mirror
November 20, 2019

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will step down today making the way for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint a new Cabinet, Daily Mirror learns. The Prime Minister called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday and discussed it. He will have a special Cabinet meeting at 4.00 p.m. today. Afterwards, he will make a public statement announcing his resignation from office. Later, the President is slated to appoint a small Cabinet to govern the country for a brief period till the dissolution of parliament after March 1, next year. Click here to read...

NEPAL

Alleging political intervention, applicants for transitional justice commissions are withdrawing their names: The Kathmandu Post

November 20, 2019

Despite repeated promises by the government to conclude the transitional justice process—which has dragged on for more than a decade, the way things are moving indicates that end won’t come anytime soon. A day after a recommendation committee formed to pick officials for the two transitional justice commissions made public a list of probable candidates, at least two applicants withdrew their names on Tuesday, citing political interference, an allegation that conflict victims have also been making about the entire process. Click here to read...

BHUTAN

REC ready to train teachers on continuous formative assessment: Kuenselonline

November 20, 2019

Royal Education Council will train 180 primary teachers on continuous formative assessment this winter. This is in preparation to do away with examinations for classes PP to III from the 2020 academic session. The education conference last December resolved to do away with the examinations. The educationists at the conference also decided that teachers would be given professional development training for formative assessment. REC director Kinga Dakpa said that the budget is approved and the training package is ready. Click here to read...

CHINA

Feature: Xi Jinping -- a champion of multilateralism in a world of contradictions: Xinhuanet
November 20, 2019

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," English novelist Charles Dickens proclaimed in 1859, alluding to the chills and hopes after the Industrial Revolution. One and a half centuries later, it is still a world of contradictions, brought forth by yet another round of industrial and technological revolutions, observed Chinese President Xi Jinping debuting at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in early 2017. Click here to read...

US Senate passes Hong Kong democracy bill in a win for Washington’s China hardliners: South China Morning Post

November 20, 2019

The US Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that could pave the way for diplomatic action and economic sanctions against Hong Kong, likely sending the legislation to President Donald Trump to sign into law. Congress’s upper chamber put the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sponsored by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, through an expedited process that sidestepped a roll call vote, allowing the bill to pass without any objections. The Senate also passed the Protect Hong Kong Act, sponsored by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, which would prohibit US companies from exporting non-lethal crowd control and defence items to the city. Click here to read...

Liaison office of China's central gov't in HKSAR says NPC Standing Committee's decisions should be respected: Xinhuanet

November 20, 2019

The Liaison Office of the Chinese Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said Tuesday that the administrative, legislative and judicial bodies of the HKSAR should respect relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) when performing their duties and exercising relevant powers in accordance with the law. The principal official of the liaison office said they have noted that the Court of First Instance of the High Court of the HKSAR ruled on Monday that some provisions of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance were inconsistent with the Basic Law of the HKSAR. The Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee and spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council have expressed deep and strong concerns over the ruling. Click here to read...

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