VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: August 09, 2021
Govt Criticized for Fall of Strategic Areas in North: Tolo News

Lawmakers from Kunduz and Jawzjan strongly blasted the government, accusing it of not paying sufficient attention to the situation in the north as the Taliban gain control of strategic areas, including Jawzjan's provincial capital Sheberghan and parts of Kunduz city in Kunduz province. They said other cities in the north are currently threatened. “The situation in Kunduz affects the situation in Takhar and Baghlan. And is an important location,” said Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, the former deputy minister of interior. Click here to read

Iran closes border with Afghanistan amid heavy conflicts: The Khaama Press

Iran has announced the closure of its key border with Afghanistan in Nimroz province after the Taliban took over four provinces in the war-ravaged country. The crossing point in the Milak district of Sistan and Baluchestan province has been closed due to a surge in violence in the neighboring Nimroz province.The move comes two days after the Taliban toppled southwestern Nimroz province which obliged tens of families to cross the border into Iran from the provincial capital of Zaranj city. Click here to read

Fighting Ongoing in Kunduz City, Clearing Operation Launched: Tolo News

Heavy clashes continue in Kunduz city in the northern province of Kunduz since their start on Saturday night, according to security sources. Dozens of shops and buildings have caught fire in fighting around the Kunduz airport and police HQ in the city, the sources said. “The Taliban have taken Chawk-e-Kunduz (the center of the city),” sources said. Click here to read

Pakistan dubs Afghan PR’s statements as baseless: The Khaama Press

Pakistan Foreign Ministry has reacted to the statements of the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan on Pakistan and called them to be baseless. Ghulam Muhammad Isahaqzai in his briefing claimed that the Taliban are still enjoying safe havens in Pakistan and are extending their war machine from Pakistan. In Friday’s special session of UNSC on Afghanistan which was presided by India, Pakistan’s PR to UN Munir Akram’s request for attending the session was denied which prompted Akram and Pakistan’s foreign ministry to issue a strong statement. Click here to read

10 arrested over vandalism of Hindu homes, temples in Khulna- Dhaka Tribune

“A heated altercation between Hindu and Muslim locals on Friday night may have ensued the attacks, say locals Police have arrested 10 people in a case filed in connection with the vandalism of several Hindu temples, homes and shops in a village in Khulna.” Click here to read

13 Indian fishermen detained- The Daily Star

“Bangladesh Coast Guard members yesterday detained 13 Indian fishermen for illegally entering Bangladeshi waters in the Bay of Bengal. The law enforcers also seized a trawler they were on during the arrest. The Indian fishermen were taken aboard Bangladesh Coast Guard's ship "Sonar Bangla," which also towed the seized trawler, says a Coast Guard Headquarters press release.” Click here to read

Bangamata contributed to taking exact political decision timely: PM- Daily Sun

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib had contributed to taking right political decisions timely for the country alongside managing her house and family. “. . . Bangamata not only managed her family, but also helped (Bangabandhu and political leaders) take time befitting exact political decisions for the country,” she said.” Click here to read

Bangladesh to reopen almost all economic activities from August 11- The Financial Express

“Bangladesh has announced plans to lift most lockdown restrictions on August 11, allowing public transport, offices and shopping malls to reopen. The Cabinet Division issued a notice on Sunday, outlining the reopening of almost all economic activities in Bangladesh, reports According to the notice, all government and private offices, banks and other financial institutions will be allowed to operate if they follow health regulations.” Click here to read

Bangladesh reports 10,299 fresh cases, 241 deaths from COVID-19- The Bangladesh Today

“Bangladesh today reported 10,299 COVID-19 cases while the coronavirus claimed overnight 241 lives. “The country reported 24.52 percent COVID-19 positive cases as 42,003 samples were tested in the past 24 hours. The daily infection continued to exceed 10,000 mark almost daily since July 6,” Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said in its routine daily statement.” Click here to read

Bhutan sends vaccine to her Himalayan neighbour- Kuensel

“The government yesterday sent 230,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Nepal. This was following a request from the Nepalese government seeking vaccine support from Bhutan. With support from donor countries, including Denmark, Bulgaria, and Croatia, the government managed to secure some 400,000 plus doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for the second mass vaccination campaign last month.” Click here to read

Post Vaccination Dilemma- Kuensel

“With over 65% of its population vaccinated, Bhutan is now at a crossroads; the path we choose to tread from here might be a game changer. Any miscalculation could not only undo all the good work that we have done so far under the wise and selfless leadership of His Majesty The King, but it could also turn out to be catastrophic for a country with such a small and fragile health infrastructure like ours. The last thing we would want our decisions to be influenced by is overconfidence.” Click here to read

ECB ready to conduct LG elections amid the pandemic- BBS

“The second term of the Local Government completes in October. The election will be held within 90 days after the five-year term ends. The election commission says they are ready to conduct the election amid the pandemic.” Click here to read

India-assisted Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan gets Brunel Medal- Zee News

“Bhutan's India-assisted Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project was conferred with the Brunel Medal awarded by the London-based Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) on Thursday. The award was given as a mark of excellence in civil engineering within the industry and was handed over by the Indian envoy to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj to the Chairman of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma.” Click here to read

ISRO to launch Bhutanese satellite in December 2021- Daily News Analysis

“India's ISRO or Indian Space Research Organization will be launching a Bhutanese satellite in December 2021. The satellite is being built by 4 Bhutanese engineers who are being trained by ISRO, with the first phase already over.” Click here to read

Covid-19 update: 2,548 new cases and 55 deaths in the last 24 hours- Nepal Live Today

“Nepal has reported a total of 2,548 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. In a daily update, the Health Ministry has mentioned that at least 2,548 samples have tested positive for the virus through 12,378 testings in the last 24 hours. According to the Ministry, 55 Covid-19 patients also succumbed to the pandemic in the last 24 hours.” Click here to read

Common Minimum Government Program: Resolving Kalapani Disputes, Reviewing Unequal Treaties- Kantipur

“The common minimum program, made public on Sunday by the coalition government, includes issues that have been disputed bilaterally and multilaterally for years. The government has given priority to treaties and border issues under the heading of 'promoting national interest'. The map of Nepal including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek was made public by the previous KP Sharma Oli government.” Click here to read

More AstraZeneca doses arrive from Japan- Kathmandu Post

“An additional 333,900 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, provided by Japan, arrived in Nepal on Sunday. This is part of the 1.6 million doses the Japan government has pledged under the COVAX facility, an international vaccine-sharing scheme backed by the United Nations.” Click here to read

Nepal’s Maoist revolution from the inside- Nepali Times

“In her new book Hisila: from Revolutionary to First Lady that was launched this week on Amazon, Yami chronicles her many roles as a daughter in an elite Newa family in Kathmandu, a college student in India, meeting and marrying Bhattarai, becoming an underground revolutionary, a three-time minister, the wife of a prime minister, as well as a mother and a feminist.”Click here to read

Is China fuelling 'India out' campaign in Maldives? - Times of India

Relations between India and Maldives have been cordial. India plays an important role in the economic, defence, and humanitarian sectors in the Maldives. But for the last few years, an anti-India campaign is being fuelled in the Maldives. This malicious agenda 'India out' campaign is triggered by domestic politics. Experts believe that influenced by China, Maldivian opposition is adding fuel to the fire. The issue is so complex that the Solih government which is friendly to India-- is finding it difficult to neutralise the vitriolic campaign. Times of India spoke to former diplomat Vishnu Prakash on the issue. Watch the video for more details. Click here to read

Sri Lanka, India, Maldives to cooperate on maritime safety and security, counterterrorism under the Colombo Security Conclave - Colombo Page

A trilateral security meeting held between Sri Lanka, India and Maldives last week has identified maritime safety and security, Terrorism and Radicalization, Trafficking and Organized Crime and Cyber security as the “four pillars” of cooperation. Sri Lanka hosted the first Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave virtually on 4 August 2021, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said on Friday. Click here to read

FPCCI chief calls for enhanced bilateral trade with Maldives - Daily Times

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has offered to play a role in connecting Maldives with exporters in Pakistan to meet their import requirements. While speaking at an event jointly organised by Pak-Maldives Business Council of FPCCI and State Trading Organisation (STO) of Maldives, FPCCI president Mian Nasir Hayat Magoo highlighted the potential to enhance the volumes of bilateral trade in construction materials, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and food items, among others. Click here to read

No shot, no service: Unvaxxed people to face more restrictions - Avas

The Maldives' COVID-19 guidelines are being revised such that those unvaccinated against COVID-19 are barred from obtaining some public services.Click here to read

Anti-military protests in Myanmar on anniversary of 1988 uprising - Reuters

Protests against Myanmar's military government broke out across the nation on 08 August, the anniversary of the bloody suppression of a 1988 uprising against a previous army junta. At least six separate protests were documented on Facebook pages of opponents of the military, which seized power from the elected government six months ago and detained its leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and several other key officials. Click here to read

Arakan Army extends administrative grip on Rakhine State - Frontier Myanmar

The United League of Arakan is advancing steadily towards its objective of assuming administrative control in Rakhine State, and has seen a high level of compliance from the state’s residents with the stay-at-home order it issued on July 20 in response to the third wave of COVID-19. Since the coup, the ULA and its armed wing, the Arakan Army, have accelerated their effort to expand their ability to govern the state and be seen as its legitimate governing body.
Click here to read

Fresh Clashes in Myanmar’s Remote Ethnic Regions Lead to Casualties, Displacement – RFA

Clashes between the military and rebel groups in Myanmar’s remote ethnic regions have left several government troops dead and injured in recent days, according to sources, while vulnerable refugees in camps along the country’s northwestern borders are in desperate need of supplies, aid workers said. Click here to read

Coup Brings ‘Bad New Days’ to Myanmar’s Mining Communities - The Diplomat

In the jade mines of Kachin State, in the far north, the coup has turned the established political economy upside down. The current situation feels more like “the bad new days,” as one jade merchant recently told me. Click here to read

Asean appoints Brunei diplomat Erywan Yusof as envoy to Myanmar - This Week In Asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, beset with questions about internal unity, on Wednesday said it was appointing one of Brunei’s top diplomats to spearhead overtures to junta-ruled Myanmar as the country reels from a worsening Covid-19 crisis.
The decision to appoint Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs, as a special envoy was published in a joint communique of the bloc on Wednesday, two days after its 10 foreign ministers, including a representative of the Myanmar junta, held virtual talks among themselves as part of a weeklong series of meetings. Click here to read

Myanmar civil society groups reject regional envoy – Euronews

Hundreds of Myanmar civil society groups on Friday rejected the appointment of a special envoy by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying the regional organisation should have consulted opponents of the ruling junta and other parties. ASEAN foreign ministers on Wednesday appointed Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs, Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy to Myanmar to try to resolve the crisis in Myanmar by opening dialogue and overseeing humanitarian aid. Click here to read

2 policeman martyred, 12 injured in blast near Quetta's Serena Hotel: Dawn

At least two policemen were martyred and 12 others injured in an explosion near Quetta's Serena Hotel on Sunday evening. Six civilians were also wounded in the blast that targeted a vehicle carrying 15 policemen near Tanzeem Chowk, Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said in a statement. He said the improvised explosive device (IED) was fitted into a motorcycle.The injured were shifted to hospital, where an emergency was imposed, while Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) teams were at the scene. Click here to read

Pakistan retained on ‘red list’ due to ‘deteriorating Covid situation’: UK: The Express Tribune

UK senior health official JO Churchill has said that Pakistan is retained on Britain’s “red list” due to the "worsening Covid-19 situation and low testing rates".In a letter dated August 6, Churchill while explaining the reason for keeping Pakistan on the red list of countries said UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre continues to assess risk based on factors including incidence, trends in deaths/hospitalisations, exported cases as well as testing and test positivity rates. Click here to read

Bilawal vows to 'clean sweep' next general elections across Pakistan: The Express Tribune

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday said that his party would form the government across the country after sweeping the next general elections. A Jiyala (PPP stalwart) would lead the next Balochistan government as the chief minister,” the scion of the Bhutto dynasty claimed while addressing an exclusive party function in Quetta.The function was held at Jattak House on Sariab Road in connection with leading politicians from different political parties joining the PPP.Click here to read

4,455 new Covid cases, 68 deaths reported in single day: Dawn

As the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 4,455 new cases and 68 deaths due to coronavirus in a single day, the centre celebrated the 500th day of its establishment on Sunday.In a related development, two million more doses of Covid-19 vaccine reached Pakistan from China. Today marks the 500th day of NCOC establishment. A documentary named Unified Endeavour portraying the unity displayed by the nation against Covid-19 pandemic has been launched today,” said an NCOC tweet. Click here to read

Sri Lanka
Security Meet Between Lanka, India, Maldives Identify Terrorism, Marine Safety Among '4 Pillars' of Cooperation - News 18

Terrorism and radicalisation, marine safety and security, trafficking and organised crime, and cybersecurity were identified as the “four pillars" of cooperation in a trilateral security meeting held between Sri Lanka, India and Maldives, the Indian High Commission here said on Friday. The first Deputy National Security Adviser level meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave was held virtually on August 4 and was hosted by Lanka, the High Commission said in a press release. Click here to read

Sri Lanka Disputes Moody's Downgrading of Credit Rating; Calls it Ill-judged, Unacceptable - News 18

Sri Lanka has questioned a move by the Singapore-based rating agency Moody's to downgrade the country's sovereign credit ratings, calling it ill-judged, ill-timed and unacceptable. The Moody's Investors Services on Monday said that it may further downgrade Sri Lanka's sovereign rating, almost a year after it did the same in September last year.

In a statement, Moody's said that Sri Lanka's low and declining foreign reserves adequacy, limited and narrowing set of external financing options for the government and the extremely large share of government revenue taken up by interest payments raises the risk of debt default.Click here to read

SL’s war on delta only to worsen - Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka’s war against the Delta variant which has exhausted the country’s health system and overburdened hospitals is still in its formative stages and is only expected to worsen in the coming three weeks, doctors have warned. In addition to more COVID-19 deaths which will be witnessed in the coming weeks, deaths caused by other illnesses will also increase, as people with other sicknesses are presently afraid to visit hospitals Doctors say that while they were managing to provide oxygen to all patients who required it presently, in a week’s time they may start witnessing deaths due to lack of oxygen.Click here to read

Despite the rejection of mega projects with foreign loans, UK firm to get CEP contract - The Sunday Times

Despite publicly rejecting costly mega-projects funded through foreign loans, the Government will award the 58km section of the Central Expressway Project (CEP) from Kurunegala to Dambulla to a company named M/s Roughton International Ltd which is seeking to borrow about 691.5mn Euros (Rs 162bn) from UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Cabinet last year cleared the Finance Ministry to negotiate with Roughton International to secure 100 per cent foreign financing for the civil works contract cost, documents seen by the Sunday Times reveal.Click here to read

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