VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 12 Jan 2018
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PAKISTAN

Spat aside, US-Pakistan dialogue channels remain open: Dawn

12 January 2018

Pakistan and the United States are keeping channels of communication open in a bid to cool the row over terror sanctuaries that worsened with President Trump’s baffling New Year Day Twitter tirade. “The two sides continue to communicate with each other on various issues of mutual interest at different levels,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at a briefing on Thursday. Click here to read...

China-driven Silk Road project hits political, financial hurdles: Dawn

12 January 2018

China’s plan for a modern Silk Road of railways, ports and other facilities linking Asia with Europe hit a $14 billion pothole in Pakistan. Islamabad’s relations with Beijing are so close that officials call China their “Iron Brother”. However, from Pakistan to Tanzania to Hungary, projects under President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative are being cancelled, renegotiated or delayed due to disputes about costs or complaints host countries get too little out of projects built by Chinese companies and financed by loans from Beijing that must be repaid. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan Air Force carry out raids on ISIS targets in Kunar: Khaama Press

11 January 2018

The Afghan Air Force continues to pound the ISIS targets in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan in response to a large scale attack which was repulsed earlier this week. The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan army said the latest airstrikes were carried out in the vicinity of Suki district. Kunar is among the relatively volatile provinces in East of Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militants including the Taliban and ISIS insurgents are actively operating in some of its and often carry out insurgency activities. Click here to read...

“UN Contacted Taliban Over Polio Vaccination Program”: Tolo News

11 January 2018

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Toby Lanzer on Thursday said that the organization had been in touch with members of the Taliban about conducting the polio vaccination campaign in Shahwalikot district of southern Kandahar province. According to reports, thousands of children were vaccinated against the polio virus in Shahwalikot as a result of an agreement between UN and Taliban members responsible for health. Click here to read...

NEPAL

Maoist Centre decides to quit govt, finally: Kathmandu Post

12 January 2018

Almost three months after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba stripped CPN (Maoist Centre) ministers of their responsibilities protesting the party’s electoral alliance with the CPN-UML, the third largest party has decided to quit the government. According to a decision announced on Thursday, the party will notify PM Deuba about recalling of the ministers without portfolio on Friday. Click here to read...

EPG conducts second round discussion on 1950 India-Nepal treaty: Kathmandu Post

12 Januar 2018

The Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations has concluded article-wise discussion on the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, during the sixth meeting of the EPG that began in New Delhi on Thursday. The eight-member panel held a second-round discussion on the thorny issues on Thursday to arrive at a common position in the two-day meeting before proposing new measures. The issue had also figured in an earlier meeting of the EPG. Besides discussing alternative proposals on each of the 10 articles, the EPG members also discussed management of the open and porous border between Nepal and India. Calling it unequal, Nepal has pressed for scrapping of the treaty, urging the Indian side to replace it with a new one. But officials from the two countries differ on some articles of the treaty. Click here to read...

SRILANKA

AG says President Sirisena’s term is 6 years: Daily Mirror

12 January 2018

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday contended that incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena can continue his term of office as President for 6 years. The Attorney General, appearing with Additional Solicitor General Murdu Fernando and Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle submitted that the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court whether there is any impediment to him to continue his terms of office for 6 years as President as amended in the amended Article 31 of the 19th Amendment. Click here to read...

MALDIVES

Maldives top diplomat reaches India: Haveeru

11 January 2018

The Maldivian foreign minister Dr Mohamed Asim left for India as a special envoy of President Abdulla Yameen on Wednesday. This visit comes amidst talks of high tensions between the neighbouring countries. The Maldivian delegation is set to pay a courtesy call on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the visit. According to Indian media, they would meet with India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to discuss the India-Maldives diplomatic relationship as well. The talks of a strained relationship started after the Maldives signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, granting them more power in the Indian Ocean. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Indians paying for free visa: Daily Star

12 January 2018

If an Indian citizen with a valid passport is willing to pay 1,800-2,000 rupees, he or she can get a Bangladeshi visa for a month sitting at home. The person doesn't even have to fill out a visa application form online or make any effort to go to a Bangladesh mission to submit a printed copy of the filled-in form. The cost, however, will go up if the person wants a visa for a longer period. And the ones offering “the hassle-free visa service" are some middlemen who loiter around the Bangladeshi missions in Delhi and Kolkata. All this was revealed by a recent report of the Bangladesh home ministry. Click here to read...

MYANMAR

Myanmar military admits role in killing Rohingya found in mass grave: CNN

11 January 2018

Myanmar has said members of its security forces were involved in the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave last month in Rakhine State, where the country's military has been accused of ethnic cleansing. "Action will be taken against the villagers who participated in the case and the members of security forces who broke the Rules of Engagement under the law," the Myanmar military said in a statement posted to Facebook. Before this admission, Myanmar's military had denied any wrongdoing in the violence that began in late August 2017 and has led to the exodus of more than 650,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Click here to read...

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