VIF Neighborhood News Digest: February 13, 2020
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PAKISTAN
Turkish president arrives on two-day visit today: Dawn
February 13, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reaching Pakistan on Thursday (today) on a two-day trip aimed at strengthening bilateral strategic partnership and economic ties. The Foreign Office said the Turkish president would visit Pakistan from Feb 13 to 14 for underscoring “traditional solidarity and affinity” between the two countries and further “deepening and broadening of the flourishing Pakistan-Turkey strategic partnership”. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Kabul Still in Search of intra-Afghan Talks Team: Tolo
February 13, 2020

Amid reports that the United States and the Taliban are closer to a potential peace agreement, the Afghan government is still arguing about an inclusive peace negotiating team to talk to the Taliban. On Wednesday, the office of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah confirmed that the Afghan government still had not formed a team. “Unfortunately, until now there is no political consensus among those in the camp of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Definitely, progress in the talks involves these issues,” said Mujiburrahman Rahimi, a spokesman for CE Abdullah Abdullah, referring to the government’s peace negotiating team. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Dhaka ranks 4th worst in Air Quality Index: Dhaka Tribune
February 13, 2020

Minister Md Shahab Uddin says air pollution should be seen as an important national crisis. Bangladesh's capital Dhaka has ranked fourth among cities with worst air quality. It had a score of 202 at 9:29am on Thursday in the Air Quality Index (AQI). The air was classified as "very unhealthy." China's Beijing, India's Kolkata, and Afghanistan's Kabul occupied the top three positions in the list of cities with worst air with AQI scores of 300, 278, and 266 respectively, reports UNB. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Myanmar takes steps to improve trade strategies: Myanmar Times
February 13, 2020

Myanmar will take measures to ensure that overseas demand for locally made goods remains elevated even as cheaper imports from the region are expected to rise now that the country will participate further in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). This should also keep the country’s trade deficit, which was down to US$627 million in fiscal 2019-20 from US$5.2 billion in fiscal 2016-17, stable. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Failure to indict Poudel and Regmi in land grab could set a dangerous precedent, say legal experts: The Kathmandu Post
February 13, 2020

Legal experts have argued that the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has weakened its corruption cases against 175 individuals in relation to the Lalita Niwas land grab scam by exempting Nabin Poudel and Kumar Regmi. Poudel is the son of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) General Secretary Bishnu Poudel and Regmi is a sitting justice at the Supreme Court. Click here to read...

BHUTAN
NC proposes property transfer tax exemption in rural areas: Kuenselonline
February 13, 2020

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering introduced the Property Tax Bill 2020 in National Council (NC) yesterday. The Bill, passed by National Assembly on February 10, saw amendments on tax for property transfer. The seller, irrespective of whether the property is located in urban or rural areas should pay the tax. Some members of NC, however, proposed that there should be exemption of property transfer tax in rural areas. Click here to read...

Sri Lanka
Sanath Nishantha oblivious to Wildlife Protection Act: Chandrasena: Daily Mirror
February 13, 2020

Referring to the incident in which the Gampaha District Forest Officer rejected the proposal to construct a playground at the Kadolkele mangrove in Negombo, Environment and Wildlife Resources Minister S.M. Chandrasena said State Minister Sanath Nishantha Perera would have been ignorant of the Wildlife Protection Act when dealing with the situation. Click here to read...

CHINA
Coronavirus: Hubei province reports spike in new confirmed cases and deaths after change in diagnostic criteria: South China Morning Post
February 13, 2020

Health authorities in China’s Hubei province – the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic– reported on Thursday 14,840 new confirmed cases, almost 10 times the number reported a day earlier, and new deaths attributable to the contagion rose to 242, more than double on the day. Click here to read...

Xi Focus: Xi chairs leadership meeting on epidemic control, noting "positive changes": Xinhuanet
February 13, 2020

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Wednesday held a meeting on the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chaired the meeting and made an important speech. Click here to read...

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