VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 17 Jan 2018
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PAKISTAN

Washington leverage not as big as US believes, says report: Dawn
17 Jan, 2017

Pakistan has claimed more than $23 billion of reimbursements from the US between 2001 and 2017 but only received a little more than half of its claims, about $14bn, shows a report based on official estimates of the reimbursements. According to this report which has been made available to Dawn, in 2001-02, which was also the first year of the US-led war against terrorism, Pakistan claimed a total of $847.309 million and received $300m. All reimbursements come from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which was created after the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack to reimburse an ally for its efforts to combat militancy. Click here to read...

Foreign direct investment drops 3pc despite growing inflows from China: Dawn
17 Jan, 2017

Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 2.8 per cent to $1.38 billion in the first half of 2017-18, although inflows from China rose 2.4 times, the State Bank of Pak­istan reported on Tuesday. Data showed the pattern of inflows significantly changed recently. China now dominates FDI with a share of more than two-thirds in total investments. Beijing emerged first as the largest trading partner of Islamabad and now it has become the top foreign investor. Inflows from countries other than China have come down drastically over the same period. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

Mike Pence and Ghani Discuss Balkh Problem: Tolo News
17 Jan, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence spoke with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan by phone on Tuesday and emphasized his support for the Afghan government to engage with Balkh Governor Atta and conduct a peacefully negotiated transition of leadership. According to a White House statement the discussion was a continuation of the dialogue that the Vice President had with Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah in Kabul last month. Pence highlighted Kabul’s continued engagement and critical progress on necessary reforms, political inclusion, and preparations for forthcoming elections. Pence and Ghani also discussed the political leadership in the Balkh province. The Vice President emphasized his support for the Afghan government to engage in dialogue with Noor and conduct a peacefully negotiated transition of leadership. Click here to read...

NEPAL

MKN’s indifference ups presidential hopes for Khanal, Gautam: My Republica
17 Jan, 2017

Former prime minister and UML senior leader Jhalanath Khanal and party Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam have emerged as two frontrunners for president as the UML intensifies internal discussions to pick the party’s nominee for the next head of state. UML, the party which bagged the highest number of seats in the recently held parliamentary and provincial assembly elections, is seen as the favourite for deciding the presidency. It has staked its claim in a power-sharing deal between UML and the CPN (Maoist Center). UML leaders said that the party leadership is choosing between Khanal and Gautam after another former prime minister and senior leader, Madhav Kumar Nepal, turned down an offer as the party’s nominee for the post. Click here to read...

Koiralas in bid to ‘revive’ Congress: Kathmandu Post
17 Jan, 2017

Ahead of the much-awaited meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the Nepali Congress, three members of the Koirala family--General Secretary Shashank Koirala, Shekhar Koirala and Sujata Koirala--have decided to take initiatives jointly to make the party strong by ending factionalism. The meeting of the leaders from the Koirala family that led the country’s oldest party for much of its existence comes at a time when Sher Bahadur Deuba faces intense pressure to resign as the party chief taking moral responsibility for the NC’s poor showing in the recently concluded House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly elections. The party’s CWC will meet on Thursday to discuss broader political and internal issues. Click here to read...

MALDIVES

Maldivian insurgents in foreign wars have increased: minister: Haveeru
16 Jan, 2018

Defence minister Adam Shareef on Monday declared that the number of Maldivians traveling to fight in the Syrian civil war has again increased. Speaking at a press conference held at the Coast Guard building in capital Male, Shareef revealed that the number of Maldivians involved in the Syrian civil war has risen to 61 from 49. This is an increase of 12, since the government announced the latest number in 2016. The authorities have detained 68 people who attempted to go to war during this period. The minister stated that they were 59 adults and 9 minors. Shareef clarified that the minors detained were with families travelling to join conflict-ridden areas. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH

Rohingya crisis: Bangladesh and Myanmar agree repatriation timeframe: BBC
16 Jan, 2018

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed a timeframe for repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled crackdowns from the military. Myanmar has agreed to accept 1,500 Rohingya each week, Bangladesh says, adding that it aims to return all of them to Myanmar within two years. More than 740,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh amid violence in Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017. Aid agencies have raised concerns about forcibly repatriating them. Displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh have expressed concerns about returning to Myanmar. Click here to read...

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