VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 09 Jan 2018


Pakistan does not get $1.4b committed aid: Express Tribune
9 Jan, 2018

Pakistan did not receive the $1.4 billion worth of aid that various countries have promised to reduce poverty, improve social services in the tribal areas and bring in reforms in the education and health sectors. The countries included members of the European Union, the US, the UK, Japan and Saudi Arabia, showed the official documents of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The amount was 30% of the total outstanding grants of $4.5 billion that various donors had committed to Pakistan, according to the official documents. Click here to read...

Senior Afghan politician says Taliban leadership not in Pakistan: Express Tribune
9 Jan, 2018

A senior Afghan politician has said that the Taliban leadership is based in Afghanistan and that the group is willing to negotiate peace. The statement of Hamid Gailani, the chairman of Mahaz-e-Milli party, which is contrary to the official Afghan narrative, drew a strong rebuke from the country’s top spy agency. According to Tolo News, Gailani has said that most Taliban leaders are in Afghanistan and that they also want to negotiate with other countries involved.Click here to read...


Over 6,000 Insurgents Killed in 10 Months: Afghan Army: Tolo News
8 Jan, 2018

General Bismillah Waziri, the commander of Special Operation Military Corps, on Monday said that over 6,000 insurgents were killed in clashes against the Afghan security forces over the past ten months. He said the number of operations carried out by his forces during this period was over 2,000. In August 2017, President Ashraf Ghani officially upgraded the Special Forces Unit and Special Operations Division to a military corps, a move that brought more responsibilities for these forces in their campaign against insurgents in various fronts across Afghanistan. Over the past ten months, the special operation corps forces carried out about two thousand operations including 147 special operations against militants, said Waziri. “We eliminated over 6,100 enemy fighters including Daesh militants during the war, 3,285 of them sustained injuries, 443 others were arrested who have been tackled based on the law,” said Waziri.Click here to read...

Presence of Taliban leaders in Pakistan a proven fact: CEO: Pajhwok
8 Jan, 2018

The government on Monday said the presence of Taliban leaders outside Afghanistan was a patent reality known to the entire world. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah, addressing a cabinet meeting, said there was no need for explanations on whether Taliban leaders lived in Afghanistan or abroad. The existence of terrorist bases and presence of the Taliban leaders outside Afghanistan wan an undeniable fact, he said, adding there was unanimity among security organs and people on it. Afghans were aware and careful on such issues and statements against facts would damage the credibility of those who raised such matters, he said.Click here to read...


Govt. borrowed USD 14.6 bn foreign currency loans: Mahinda Rajapaksa: Daily Mirror
8 Jan, 2018

The government has borrowed over USD 14.6 billion in foreign currency loans alone during the short period of 36 months that this government has been in power, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated. He said even though 14.6 billion USD would suffice to build five Norochcholai power plants, five Hambantota harbours with enough money being left over to build two more Southern Expressways, the Yahapalana government had not built even a culvert with that money. “I have made reference so far only to foreign currency loans. From January 2015 to date, the yahapalana government has borrowed well over Rs. 5.7 trillion in Rupee loans as well, through the issue of treasury bills and treasury bonds,” he said.Click here to read...


RJP-N to join Nepal govt if demands are met: ANI
8 Jan, 2018

The Rashtriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N), which is an amalgamation of six Madhesh based parties, has shown willingness to join the new government in the country if their demands are fulfilled. Anil Kumar Jha, member of the RJP-N (Ratriya Janata Party- Nepal) President Council said the party will join the new government if the demands they have raised are met. "That will depend upon the structure of the government and which party will lead the government and who will be the Prime Minister because none of the parties have fulfilled the majority (provision). But, yes we can support the government if the Prime Minister and the party, which will lead the government, fulfills our demand of constitution amendment and work upon the Madhesi agendas," Jha said in an interview with ANI. Click here to read...


Japan and Maldives agree to join hands on Tokyo’s Indo-Pacific strategy: Japan Times
7 Jan, 2018

Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Maldives counterpart Mohamed Asim have agreed to cooperate closely in promoting Tokyo’s diplomatic Indo-Pacific strategy amid China’s rising clout in the region. “I would like to further strengthen the cooperative relationship to realize the strategy,” Kono said at Saturday’s meeting, referring to the latest initiative launched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Under the Indo-Pacific strategy, Japan is seeking to cooperate with countries that share similar values, such as the rule of law and democracy, to contribute to stability in a wide area stretching from East Asia to Africa. Click here to read...


Govt. working with Indian counterparts on GST: Kuensel
8 Jan, 2018

While India’s goods and services tax (GST) has cut the competitive edge of Bhutan’s export-oriented industries, Bhutan still has a few advantages, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said. The government, he said, must accept what GST has done. It has created a level-playing field between Bhutanese manufacturers and that of India. Prime minister said that local industries like cement manufacturers have dwelt on profitable environment for decades. “It does not happen in any country,” he said, referring to the exemption on the excise duty the export-bound local products enjoyed. This was possible because of the free trade agreement with India, he added.Click here to read...

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