VIF Neighborhood News Digest: October 15, 2019
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PAKISTAN
PM Imran issues orders to control inflation, summons all chief ministers for consultation: Dawn
October 15, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered concerned authorities to take steps to control the prices of basic food items, the government's chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan announced in a post-cabinet meeting news briefing on Monday. Awan, the special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on information, said that the premier also called the chief ministers of all four provinces for a meeting on Friday to devise a strategy to control inflation, which surged by 11.4 per cent year-on-year in September. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Businessmen: Gov. Should Increase Tariffs On Pakistani Products: Tolo
October 15, 2019

A number of Afghan businessmen have called on the government to tax Pakistan's seasonal exports, much as Pakistan taxes Afghan exports. In fact, businessmen say the government should impose tariffs not only on Pakistan, but Iran as well, for fruits and vegetables. The harvest season has come, but due to seasonal high tariffs from Pakistan these products do not have a market. Afghan businessmen say that domestic markets are currently full of Iranian and Pakistani fruits and vegetables -- which are also produced in Afghanistan, and the government is doing nothing to support domestic products. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
First ever Dhaka-Delhi bilateral naval exercise underway, says Indian Navy: Dhaka Tribune
October 15, 2019

The first ever bilateral exercise between the navies of Bangladesh and India is taking place in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, according to the Indian Navy and media. However, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of Bangladesh has said the “the bilateral exercise” is actually a joint patrol. A press release posted on the Indian Navy website on October 11 said the second edition of the Indian Navy-Bangladesh Navy Coordinated Patrol (IN-BN CORPAT) began in the Northern Bay of Bengal on October 10. Two Indian Navy ships, the INS Ranvijay and INS Kuthar, and two Bangladesh Navy ships, the BNS Ali Haider and BNS Shadinota, took part in the coordinated patrol. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Myanmar’s draft oil and gas bill jeopardizes next bidding round: Myanmar Times
October 15, 2019

Uncertainty and confusion over Myanmar’s proposed oil and gas law risk alienating existing investors and could undermine the next crucial bidding round, according to companies and experts in the sector. Time is running out for the Ministry of Electricity and Energy to launch the round by the end of the year, having initially planned to start the process in the first half of 2019. The government published the revised text of the draft oil and gas law for public consultation in August with the aim of reforming the legal framework and replacing the 1957 petroleum resources act. But the association representing oil and gas investors has highlighted its objections to parliament in a letter, of which The Myanmar Times has seen extracts. Click here to read...

SRI LANKA
No issue with SF being in-charge of national security: Mahesh: Daily Mirror
October 15, 2019

It was good to handover responsibilities relating to national security to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, National Peoples Movement (NPM) presidential candidate and former Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake said. He said this responding to a question raised by a journalist with reference to remarks made by NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa that he would give the highest possible responsibilities to Sarath Fonseka. He said that he had come forward as a presidential candidate in order to safeguard the country which is in turmoil. “My main priorities are to curb bribe and corruption, to uplift the economy and to ensure national security,” he said. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepal and China elevate bilateral ties to a ‘strategic partnership’ but no one’s certain what that entails: The Kathmandu Post
October 15, 2019

On Saturday, the day Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in Kathmandu for a two-day state visit, three Nepali papers, including the Post’s sister paper Kantipur, published an article authored by him, in which the Chinese leader said that China wants to forge “a strategic partnership” with Nepal. A joint communiqué issued after the conclusion of Xi’s visit on Sunday categorically mentioned that both sides have “decided to, on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Charter of the United Nations and principles of good neighborliness, elevate Nepal-China Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation Featuring Ever-lasting Friendship to Strategic Partnership of Cooperation.” Click here to read...

BHUTAN
Policy to enhance professionalism in construction sector: Kuenselonline
October 15, 2019

Bhutan is experiencing construction boom of a sort with mushrooming of numerous building projects. The construction sector is one of the major contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It contributed 15.87 percent to GDP in 2017 and 16.28 percent in 2016. In 2016, the sector employed 2.56 percent of the labor force, equivalent to 6,624 construction professionals in construction and consultant firms. However, the sector is also often accused of being profit-driven and irresponsible. As per the Construction Development Board’s (CDB) 2017-2018 annual report, between 2015 and 2018, about Nu 1.2 billion was in dispute in the sector for reasons like termination of contracts, audit memos, time extension, deviation, price adjustments and force majeure, among others. Click here to read...

CHINA
Xi, Modi chart course ahead for new era: China Daily
October 15, 2019

China and India can create an even closer partnership in the new era, as the countries' leaders have reset relations through an informal meeting over the weekend in the coastal city of Chennai in southern India, officials and experts said. President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in-depth discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of "overall, long-term and strategic" importance in their second informal meeting, Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui told reporters after the meeting. Click here to read...

Commentary: Xi-Modi meeting charts course of steady China-India ties : Xinhuanet
October 15, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held their second informal meeting on Friday and Saturday in the southern Indian city of Chennai, setting the tune for the future development of bilateral ties. As major emerging economies and the only two countries in the world with a population of more than 1 billion, China and India boast great potential for cooperation. Click here to read...

Spotlight: Why Xi's state visit bodes well for China-Nepal ties: Xinhuanet
October 15, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Nepal, which ended Sunday, has charted the course for the future of bilateral ties. During his tour, Xi met with Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli, among other political figures, and witnessed the signing of 20 bilateral cooperation documents. The two sides agreed to elevate their ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity, opening a new chapter of China-Nepal relations. Click here to read...

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