VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 16 Feb 2018

Pakistan concerned over FATF watchlist move: Dawn
16 Feb, 2018

Pakistan has expressed serious concern over a motion submitted to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for placing it on a watchlist. Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly briefing on Thursday that the FATF was an international body responsible for setting standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Such motions were aimed at hampering the economic growth of Pakistan, he added. He said the ongoing anti-terrorist operations by the Pakistan Army were proof of the country’s commitment towards combating this menace. In reply to a question, Dr Faisal said the Afghan president’s tweets about Naqeebullah Mehsud’s case were interference in Pakistan’s internal affair. He said Pakistan rejected allegations by some Indian police and defence officials and media insinuations in connection with an attack on the Sunjuwan camp in India-held Kashmir. Click here to read...

Senior US Envoy Meets Afghan Officials Ahead Of Peace Summit: Tolo News
15 Feb, 2018

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, who was on a three-day visit to Kabul, met with Afghan officials ahead of the February 28 Kabul Process Conference, the US Embassy said in a statement. The senior US official met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Directorate of Security Chief Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, High Peace Council Chairman Karim Khalili, Secretary General of the High Peace Council Akram Khapalwak, and Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai. She also met with prominent Afghan political, business, and media representatives to highlight the longstanding US-Afghan partnership. Click here to read...

Deuba finally passes the baton to Oli: Kathmandu Post
16 Feb, 2018

In a quick turn of events, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli was appointed the prime minister on Thursday, immediately after PM Sher Bahadur Deuba resigned. Oli is the first leader to be elected PM following the parliamentary elections held after the promulgation of the constitution that institutionalised federalism. Leaders from the left alliance of the UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) had reached the President’s Office at around 9am claiming a majority in the federal parliament even before Deuba announced his resignation in a televised address to the nation. President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Oli the PM immediately after Deuba tabled his resignation at her office at noon. Click here to read...

Devil will be in the detail for Belt and Road courts: Myanmar Times
16 Feb, 2018

THE new Belt and Road courts could complement existing common law-based arbitration institutions and widen the choices for project parties, but the devil could be in the detail, such as the structure, composition of judges and governing rules, experts have warned. In early February, the Chinese embassy in Yangon confirmed that Beijing will set up a Belt and Road dispute settlement mechanism involving new courts, while news media reported that three international commercial courts will be set up by China’s Supreme People’s Court in Xi’an, Shenzhen and Beijing. In Myanmar, the proposed Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Rakhine State is among the foremost mega projects in the Belt and Road Initiative. The proposed SEZ has huge implications on Rakhine’s development, Myanmar’s trade economy, foreign investments, infrastructure as well as human rights. Click here to read...

GST issues for Bhutan to be resolved with urgency: Kuensel
15 Feb, 2018

The Indian government is undertaking a project to enhance and install infrastructures related to trade and customs along the northeast frontier including trading points with Bhutan. The commissioner of GST, who is behind the GST legislation and policy, Upender Gupta is in the country leading a high-level delegation to clarify the issues with regard to the goods and services tax (GST). The delegation met representatives of the private sector yesterday in Thimphu. Members from the private sector said the introduction of GST has a serious impact on trade between the two countries. Click here to read...

Damodar Valley Corporation to start exporting power to Bangladesh: The Hindu
15 Feb, 2018

Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) would soon begin exporting power to Bangladesh on the basis of a bid it had won, through its power trading partner NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., for supplying 300 MW. This is the first time that DVC had won a global tender for cross-border power supply, according to a statement. DVC is administered by the Union Power Ministry and co-owned by the Centre and the States of West Bengal and Jharkhand. With an installed capacity of 7,237.2 MW, DVC supplies power to six States, apart from its two holding States. DVC would supply power to Bangladesh from January 2020 to May 2033. The short-term supply would commence from June 2018 and end in December 2019. The power would be evacuated through the 500 MW HVDC transmission line through Baharampur in West Bengal and Bheramara in Bangladesh. The line would be commissioned in June 2018, an official said. Click here to read...

China voices firm opposition to Indian PM's visit to disputed area: People’s Daily
16 Feb, 2018

China on Thursday expressed firm opposition to the visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a disputed area, urging the Indian side not to take action that could complicate the boundary issue. "China's position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang in response to reports that Modi visited the so-called Arunachal Pradesh Thursday. Click here to read...

China holdings of US government bonds rise to seven-year high: South China Morning Post
16 Feb, 2018

China increased its holdings of US Treasuries last year by the most since 2010 in a signal its demand for American bonds remains resilient.Click here to read...

Chinese couple in US wins stay of deportation that spares them from ‘persecution’ in China
16 Feb, 2018

A Chinese couple living in the US without residency permits were spared from a deportation order less than 24 hours before they would have had to board a plane to their homeland, where their lawyer said they may face persecution. Click here to read...

Economic Watch: 40 years on, the rising power of Chinese consumers: Xinhuanet
15 Feb, 2018

Decades ago, China was basically a self-sufficient country, and the products on its marketplace were largely dull and limited. But the reform and opening up initiated in 1978 has dramatically changed the country's economic landscape, bringing in a wealth of overseas goods and services, not to mention creating one of the largest drivers of global economic growth -- Chinese consumers. Click here to read...

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