VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 15 Feb 2018

Pakistan slipping out of US influence, say intelligence agencies: Dawn
15 Feb, 2018

Seventeen US intelligence agencies have warned Congress that Pakistan will continue to slip out of America’s influence and into China’s orbit in 2019, and will become a threat to Washington’s interests in the South Asian region. The review is part of an annual report that Director of US National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, underlining worldwide threat assessment of the American intelligence community. The 17 agencies that jointly produced this report include Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency. Click here to read...

Punjab government moves to seize assets of Jamaat du Dawa, its welfare wing: Dawn
February 15, 2018

Acting swiftly on a notification issued by the federal government, Punjab has started taking over all the moveable and immovable assets of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) operating in the province. The JuD’s famous Muridke Markaz along with its various schools, seminaries and health facilities was also taken over on Wednesday. There were similar reports from everywhere else in the province, as well as in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The action is being taken in pursuance of an ordinance issued by President Mamnoon Hussain last week, amending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, and allowing the state to proscribe UNSC-listed organisations, some of which had been exempt from prosecution. The move comes in the backdrop of a plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental money-laundering watchdog, which will consider a US-sponsored motion to place Pakistan on a list of countries failing to prevent terrorism financing. Click here to read...

NATO aiming to deploy 3 thousand more troops to Afghanistan: Stoltenberg: Khaama Press
Feb 14, 2018

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is aiming to increase the number of the international forces in the framework of the train, advise and assist mission to close to 16,000 during the year 2018. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that “At least twenty-eight Allies and partners are increasing their troop contributions to our training mission in Afghanistan.”

Stoltenberg further added “We are aiming to have close to 16,000 personnel there this year. Up from around 13,000 last year.” “This is a clear sign of our continued commitment to Afghanistan’s security,” he added. Stoltenberg had earlier said that the new international forces will train, advise and assist the Afghan Special Operations forces. This comes as the Afghan government and its international allies are optimistic regarding the growing capabilities of the Special Operations forces. The government together with the international allies of Afghanistan are looking to increase the number of the Special Forces as well as the Afghan Air Force by three fold until 2023. Click here to read...

CPN-UML names Oli as next Prime Minister: Kathmandu Post
14 Feb, 2018

The CPN-UML has picked party Chairman KP Sharma Oli as the next Prime Minister of the country. A Standing Committee (SC) of the party held in Laltipur on Wednesday has decided to name its leader Oli as prime ministerial candidate as he is also the UML’s Parliamentary Party leader, leader Surendra Pandey informed. The UML leaders also discussed the party unification with the CPN (Maoist Centre) during the meeting, he said. Following an intra-party discussion of both the parties, a meeting of the Party Unification Coordination Committee (PUCC) is scheduled to be held later today, leader Pandey informed. Prior to the PUCC meeting, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushapa Kamal Dahal will hold a one-on-one meeting. During the Standing Committee meeting, Chairman Oli briefed the party leaders about the progress in unification process. Both the parties have almost reached an agreement to choose the path of joint leadership system after the party unification. Click here to read...

Khaleda's Conviction for Graft: BNP mulls second round of agitation: Daily Star
February 15, 2018

The first spell of the BNP's agitation programmes over the jailing of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia came to an end yesterday with the staging of token hunger strikes across the country. In the capital, party leaders and activists broke the hunger strike in front of the Jatiya Press Club at 1:00pm, three hours ahead of schedule upon request from law enforcers. Meanwhile, seven days have passed since the jailing of Khaleda, but her lawyers are yet to get the certified copy of the special court's verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. Court sources said the copy might be supplied today. The lawyers neither can file an appeal nor can lodge a bail petition for Khaleda with the High Court without having the certified copy. BNP sources said it was drawing up plans to go for a mass signature campaign, submitting memorandums to the deputy commissioners of districts and holding a mammoth rally in the capital to press home the demand to free Khaleda. Click here to read...

Dhaka urges UNSC to visit Rohingyas: Daily Star
Feb 15, 2018

Bangladesh has urged the UN Security Council to undertake visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh to witness the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya amid continuous influx of the refugees. The visit on the ground would add “momentum to the repatriation process,” said Masud Bin Momen, permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN, at a Security Council meeting in New York on Tuesday. The call comes as nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh, and the influx, though reduced in recent weeks, continues despite Myanmar's assurances of stopping violence in Rakhine. In the first 10 days of February, about 1,500 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, Momen told the Security Council meet, the fourth on the crisis since violence began in late August. Click here to read...

Landmark bridge deck towards capital city nears completion: Haveeru
15 Feb, 2018

Housing Minister Dr. Mohammed Muizzu on Wednesday announced that the construction of the deck on the Male-end of the landmark Male-Hulhumale bridge, is almost complete. In a Tweet posted by the minister, he remarked that the construction of 480 meters of the I-beams towards the capital city is complete, as is the construction of 180 meters of road or deck space leading to the bridge from the capital Male’. The placement of I-beams at the Male-end of the bridge will be followed by the laying of the bridge deck. Once the I-beams are completed, the deck will be placed and the super structure, which is being built in China, and will be brought and assembled at the construction site in Male. Minister Muizzu also shared some photographs of the current construction stage. The images show that construction of concrete works commencing from the capital, completed halfway along the bridge. Some of the images display the CCCC staff hard at work. Click here to read...

US' strong sense of insecurity beyond comprehension: FM: People’s Daily
15 Feb, 2018

China's foreign ministry spokesperson said the United States has a strong sense of insecurity which is beyond comprehension, in response to latest accusations from US National Intelligence Daniel Coats that the US is confronted with multiple threats from China. Click here to read...

Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells: South China Morning Post
14 Feb, 2018

It looks like being a particularly grim Lunar New Year in the “tigers’ cage” this week. The notorious Qincheng maximum security prison houses many disgraced senior Communist Party officials – including fallen security chief Zhou Yongkang, former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai, ex-presidential aide Ling Jihua and Guo Boxiong, who was once a top general. Click here to read...

Beidou positioned to provide global coverage: People’s Daily
14 Feb, 2018

When cyclists use one of the Mobike or ofo shared bikes that seem to dot almost every major city in China, they probably don't relate the colorful two-wheeler in front of them with a state-of-the-art spacecraft in orbit high above the Earth. But without the navigational and positioning services that satellites provide, the entire bike-sharing sector would be no more than a pipe dream. Similarly, without satellite-based navigation devices, tourists and motorists would find that making their way around a megacity or an unfamiliar place would be like solving a puzzle in the dark. Click here to read...

Xi stresses difficulty, urgency of poverty alleviation: Xinhuanet
14 Feb, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the difficulty of the battle against poverty and the urgency of solving significant problems in poverty alleviation. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks Monday at a symposium on poverty alleviation in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China. Click here to read...

Contact Us