VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: August 04, 2021
Taliban ‘Will Be Defeated’ If No Political Settlement: Karzai: Tolo News

In an interview with Russian media, former president Hamid Karzai said the Taliban “will be defeated” by Afghans and the people will confront them and will form an uprising against them if the group continues its violence.
“If the Taliban continue to oppose that--this would be confronted but I want this confrontation to be political, not military,” Karzai said in an interview with Russia’s RTA. “They must agree to that or they will be defeated. The Afghan people will rise against them.”
Click here to read...

Atmar Calls For Increased Pressure by Intl Community on Taliban: Tolo News

Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Tuesday said that Qatar will host two key meetings on Afghanistan in the coming days but added that there is a need for more action by the international community beyond merely issuing statements from these events. Atmar said that two important meetings will be held in Qatar in the coming days: one with regional and international allies and an Extended Troika session.
Click here to read...

Anti-Taliban chants, thousands including vice-President Saleh took to streets: Khamma Press

The anti-Taliban rallying calls which were firstly chanted by people in Herat province Monday night spread to the Afghan capital Kabul, Khost, Nangarhar, and Kunar provinces the following night. In Kabul, thousands of people took to the streets chanting ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great) to oppose the Taliban offensive and support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
Click here to read...

Bangladesh decides to extend Covid curbs until August 10- New Age Bangladesh

“The government on Tuesday decided to extend the ongoing restrictions on public movement and businesses till August 10 and allow business activities from August 11 on the condition that employees must be vaccinated before reopening. The public transports banned under the restrictions from July 23 morning to August 5 midnight will also be allowed to operate ‘on a limited scale’ from August 11.”
Click here to read...

Failure to take action causes further corruption in health sector- New Age Bangladesh

“CORRUPTION and irregularities continuing in the health sector, as New Age reported on Tuesday, in the absence of adequately deterrent or punitive action by the authorities concerned, does not only harm public health services but also begets more corruption and irregularities and erodes people’s confidence in health services issues. The Anti-Corruption Commission is reported to have slowed its inquiries and investigations of health-sector corruption and irregularities, which came to light after Covid-19 broke out in early 2020, that it earlier initiated. “
Click here to read...

BMRC clears Indian Covaxin’s clinical trials in Bangladesh- Dhaka Tribunev

“Bangladesh Medical and Research Council (BMRC) has approved in principle the clinical trials of Indian Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin in Bangladesh. BMRC Chairman Prof Dr Syed Modasser Ali shared the information with UNB on Tuesday.”
Click here to read...

First-ever maize export to Bangladesh from Assam

“NERAMAC (North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited) has initiated it’s first-ever export of maize to Bangladesh. This consignment is sourced from the farms of Burigaon in the Darrang district and will give a further boost to the farmers' income, especially during this pandemic situation. Though the initial order is for 50 MT of maize, NERAMAC expects this will open the floodgate for exporting the varied Agri-Horti produces of Northeast India to newer markets.”
Click here to read...

38,000 children vaccinated from 12 to 17 so far- The Bhutanese

“The country has started rolling out the Moderna vaccine for children aged between 12 years to 17 years on 29 July. Children living in the 9 high-risk districts, which are the the 7 southern bordering Dzongkhags like Samtse, Chukha, Dagana, Sarpang, Zhemgang, Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar and the high movement and population Dzongkhags like Thimphu and Paro, will be vaccinated. The children in Phuentsholing and Samtse were inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine too.”
Click here to read...

How to Strengthen Anti-Poverty Efforts- The Bhutanese

“From 1990 to 2019, the number of people living in extreme poverty (according to the World Bank threshold of $1.90 per day) plummeted, from 1.9 billion to 648 million. COVID-19 has reversed much of this progress. By the end of 2021, the pandemic will have pushed approximately 150 million people back into extreme poverty.”
Click here to read...

Govt. considering donating excess vaccines to Nepal- The Kuensel

“Following a request placed by the Nepalese government seeking vaccine support from Bhutan, officials from the foreign ministry said that the government was considering sending excess AstraZeneca vaccine to Nepal. However, before finalising any decision, the ministry officials said that the government must first get export approval from donor countries, including Denmark, Croatia, and the AstraZeneca Company.”
Click here to read...

The Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2021- National Assembly of Bhutan

“The Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2021 was introduced for first and second reading during the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament aiming to harmonize inconsistent provisions of the existing Royal Bhutan Police Act of Bhutan 2009 and to professionalize the police force.”
Click here to read...

Control measures made positive strides towards achieving “new normal” - Pres Solih - Avas

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday, called upon all authorities to encourage the administrations’ community-wide mass vaccination programme, describing the government-implemented covid control measures to have made positive progress towards achieving a “new normal”. He made these statements while speaking to his ministers at the Cabinet session held Tuesday afternoon.
Click here to read...

Maldives Covid-19 death toll pushed to 222 - Raajje

Maldives Covid-19 death toll has been pushed to 222. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has identified the latest Covid-19 victim as a 94-year-old Maldivian man.
Click here to read...

Himandhoo placed under HPA monitoring - Avas

Himandhoo has been placed under the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s monitoring status after COVID-19 cases were identified on the island. According to HPA, monitoring mechanisms were activated on the island after an individual who traveled to the island from Male' City tested positive for the virus. A direct contact of the individual has also tested positive.
Click here to read...

Second highest tourist arrivals for 2021 recorded in July - Raajje

Maldives recorded the second highest tourist arrival numbers so far in 2021, during July. According to the latest figures publicized by the Ministry of Tourism, July saw 101,818 visitors welcomed at Velana International Airport, which is a significant increase from the 1,752 arrivals recorded during July 2020. This is the second highest figure recorded so far in 2021, since March, during which tourist arrivals escalated to 109,585.
Click here to read...

Official Myanmar COVID-19 Deaths Exceed 10,000 - The Irrawady

Myanmar’s total COVID-19 death toll has exceeded more than 10,000, while the total confirmed cases is more than 310,000 with the highest monthly reported deaths and infections in July. Myanmar reported 10,373 deaths on Tuesday while testing reported 311,067 COVID-19 positive cases since the first COVID-19 cases were found in Myanmar in March last year, according to the junta-controlled health ministry.
Click here to read...

Explained: The Tussle Over ASEAN’s Special Envoy to Myanmar - The Irrawady

ASEAN is expected to name its special envoy to Myanmar at the regional grouping’s ongoing foreign ministerial meeting this week. Originally scheduled for Monday, the announcement has been delayed after a last-minute objection from Myanmar torpedoed the group’s consensus choice. The Irrawaddy has interviewed various sources across ASEAN to find out what has been going on behind the scenes.
Click here to read...

Myanmar Coup Chief Amends Counterterrorism Law - The Irrawady
Myanmar’s coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing signed an amendment to the Counterterrorism Law on Monday, introducing harsher penalties for supporting anti-regime activities. Under the amendment, the jail term is increased from three to seven years for “acts of exhortation, persuasion, propaganda and recruitment of any person to participate in any terrorist group or activities of terrorism”.
Click here to read...

Myanmar Junta’s Caretaker Government Follows in Footsteps of Former Dictator Ne Win -The Irrawady

In 1958, Myanmar’s then military chief General Ne Win ousted the elected government led by Prime Minister U Nu and formed a caretaker government. Books on the history of Myanmar’s military claim U Nu voluntarily handed over power to Gen. Ne Win for the sake of national stability, after the ruling Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) split into two due to internal factions. However, U Nu said in his autobiography that he was forced to do so.
Click here to read...

US Dismisses Myanmar Junta’s Election Plan - The Irrawady

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has dismissed the Myanmar junta’s election plan outlined on Sunday. The US said the junta was playing for time with its two-year election timeframe and Blinken encouraged ASEAN to appoint an envoy to broker a dialogue in Myanmar.
Click here to read...

Weapons, power and money: How rare earth mining in Kachin enriches a Tatmadaw ally - Frontier Myanmar

In mountainous areas of Kachin State bordering China’s Yunnan province, the land is rich in rare earth – elements that are used worldwide in everything from cellphones and laptops to precision-guided weapons. Rare earth mining in Kachin has turned Myanmar into the world’s third-largest official exporter in just a few years. Multiple sources told Frontier and Danwatch, a Danish investigative outlet that collaborated on this investigation, that the rare earth mined in Kachin is extracted illegally by Chinese or Chinese-backed companies in areas of Chipwi Township under the de facto control of an armed group and militia led by Kachin warlord Zahkung Ting Ying.
Click here to read...

Nepal records 3,383 new Covid-19 cases and 24 fatalities in the last 24 hours; active cases cross 32,000-mark- Nepal Live Today

“Nepal on Tuesday recorded 3,383 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. Active cases have crossed 32,000-mark following a steady increase in new cases for the past few days. According to the Ministry of Health and Population, 2,448 were diagnosed with the virus in PCR tests while 935 were confirmed positive in the test undertaken through the antigen method. Samples of 10,638 people were tested through the PCR method while 6,080 samples were tested adopting the antigen method.”
Click here to read...

PM Deuba Directs Energy Ministry to Initiate Process for Appointing Ghisingh As CEO Of NEA- The Rising Nepal

“Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has directed Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bushal to initiate the process for appointing Kul Man Ghisingh to the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Nepal Electricity Authority, according to Badri Tiwari, under-secretary at the Prime Minister's secretariat.”
Click here to read...

EC Invalidates Registration of 41 Political Parties- The Rising Nepal

“Following the Commission's decision, of the 136 parties recognised by the EC, registration of only 95 parties has been retained. Moreover, the EC has also slammed Rs. 50,000 fine on 41 political parties and have said that the members of the parties would not be permitted to form a new party or enter into any existing party without releasing the fined amount.”
Click here to read...

The eyes of the state are blocked by geography- Annapurna Post
(भूगोलले छेक्यो राज्यका आँखा)

“The geography of Nepal is made up of mountains, hills and plains. When the weather of all the three regions is in the same country, Nepal's identity is found to be different in the world. Nepal has got many titles like tourist country, country where Buddha was born, country of temples. As it is also small in terms of area, it is estimated and discussed that it will be easy to develop every sector.”
Click here to read...

Pakistan, US agree to sustain pace in bilateral cooperation: Dawn

Two key Pakistani officials — National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Faiz Hameed — met US security officials in Washington on Thursday for talks that focused on a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan.
“I met with Pakistan’s NSA today to consult on regional connectivity and security, and other areas of mutual cooperation,” said their host, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Mr Yusuf confirmed the meeting in a tweet, saying: “Had a positive follow-up meeting with NSA Jake Sullivan today in Washington.”
Click here to read...

Petrol stocks drop to critical level as ministries wrangle over berthing issues: Dawn

While the ministries of energy and maritime affairs wrangle over some operational issues, Pakistan’s petrol stocks have slid to a critical position, posing a challenge to smooth supplies, it emerged on Tuesday.

As of August 2 evening, informed sources said, the overall petrol stocks were lower than eight days of the country’s average consumption coverage.

This comes as a grim reminder of the June 2020 situation when the supplies had run dry, followed by a series of inquiries and formation of commissions to investigate reasons.
Click here to read...

IMF approves $2.8b in fresh funds for Pakistan- Express Tribune

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved allocation of new funds for its member countries, including Pakistan, to help them combat the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and put the global economy on a sustainable growth path. Under the new allocations, Pakistan is estimated to receive $2.8 billion during the current month (August 23). The inflows are projected to lift the country’s foreign currency reserves to a new record high of over $20 billion.
Click here to read...

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka beckons Indian pharma companies to Hambantota - The Hindu Businessline

Officials of Sri Lankan Investment Board, Pharma Manufacturers Association to hold virtual meet with investors on August 5. Sri Lanka is seeking to invite potential investors from India to set up manufacturing operations in the new Hambantota Pharmaceutical Zone and is likely to offer a number of incentives, including tax sops.
Click here to read...

SL envoy–designate to India proposes electrical grid connectivity between two countries - Daily Mirror

Sri Lankan High Commissioner-designate to India Milinda Moragoda, in his blueprint for fostering bilateral ties with India, has proposed electrical grid connectivity between the two countries, highlighting that it would be mutually beneficial. He handed over his 27-page Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) for Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions in India for 2021/2023 to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In the proposal, he outlined the importance of connectivity between the two countries. He said grid connectivity would enable Sri Lanka to obtain electricity during operational maintenance and droughts, and also to export excess generation to India. The report also says it will also allow greater space for renewables. Digital connectivity between Sri Lanka and India is another proposal in the roadmap.
Click here to read...

Debt-hobbled Sri Lanka risks running out of options: Tom ArnoldMarc Jones - Reuters

Sri Lanka paid a $1 billion bond last week, but the alarming state of its finances suggests it may have been just another step towards its first sovereign default. All the tell-tale crisis signs are there: bonds at nearly half their face value, debt-to-GDP levels above 100%, over 80% of government revenues being spent on interest payments alone and barely enough reserves to cover a few months of spending. It has also brought it some breathing room - the next major payment is not until January when it must find $500 million. But that is followed by a heftier $1 billion in July and another $1 billion before the end of 2023. On top of an eyewatering fiscal deficit estimated to be around 11%, it could easily run out of rope.
Click here to read...

Outline map for oil, gas exploration released - Ceylon Today

The outline map of the Petroleum Resources Exploration Plots for Issuance of Petroleum Resources Exploration and Development Permits and Combined Studies in Sri Lanka was released by the Ministry of Energy. A Gazette dated 22 July was used to make the announcement. There are 873 plots in this map, including 15x15 km of small plots which will help investors to select areas for gas and oil exploration. Oil exploration is expected to increase in all three basins, the Cauvery Basin, the Ceylon Basin, and the Mannar Basin, which are designed to be more convenient and appealing to investors.
Click here to read...

Govt to Allow Import of Nitrogen Extracts and Potassium - Cylon Today

The Government has not decided to import chemical fertiliser whatsoever, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. However, a Gazette Notification, by the Import and Export Control Department, had been sent yesterday to the Government Printer, allowing the import of Nitrogen extracts and Potassium.
Click here to read...

Contact Us