VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 10th July, 2018

No direct role of armed forces in conduct of elections: DG ISPR: Dawn
July 10, 2018

The armed forces will only support the electoral process and have "no direct role in conduct of elections," Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a press conference on Tuesday. This will be the third election in Pakistan and it will ensure the continuation of the democratic process, the director general (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. DG ISPR said that the armed forces will support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) according to the code of conduct provided by the commission itself. He recalled that this is not the first time that the forces are being deployed in elections. Click here to read...

US-Afghanistan Pledge to Work Together for Peace: Tolo News
July 09, 2018

Pompeo paid a surprise visit to Kabul on Monday and met with Ghani and other high ranking officials. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Kabul on a surprise visit on Monday and held talks with top Afghan officials including President Ashraf Ghani. Pompeo announced the US’s full support for Ghani’s efforts to resume peace negotiations with the Taliban and reiterated that Washington was willing to assist. Pompeo said the peace process would be Afghan-led but added that the US would be prepared to participate to help resolve differences and said support from neighboring countries would also be needed. He also referred to the upcoming elections in Afghanistan and called for the process to be organized in a credible and legitimate manner. Meanwhile, Ghani said that the Afghan security forces are getting stronger but the contribution of Islamic countries in finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan is crucial. Click here to read...

Nepal clamps on India’s small project grants: Kathmandu Post
July 10, 2018

The Cabinet has tightened norms for inflow of Indian grants to Small Development Projects (SDPs) in Nepal. Projects will not start unless India signs financing agreements with Nepal’s Finance Ministry. The second caveat says ‘India must route the grant through the central government account’. India disburses grants up to Rs50 million for each SDP. The Cabinet decision aims greater scrutiny and paper trail of Indian grants to small projects in Nepal. This decision abrogates the power of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu to fund projects anywhere in Nepal at its own volition. Click here to read...

China-Maldives Friendship Bridge completed:
July 10, 2018

Part of the "Belt and Road Initiative," the Chinese-financed project was officially launched during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Maldives in 2014. The 2 kilometer bridge links the Maldives' capital Malé to the island of Hulhulé, where an international airport is located. China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) is the main contractor of the project. Umar Zahir, former Construction Minister of the Maldives, says the bridge has been a "dream" of the Maldivian people for half a century, saying Chinese construction teams have helped their dreams come true. Click here to read...

China expects more agricultural imports from Europe: People's Daily
July 10, 2018

China is expanding trade ties with Europe by increasing imports of agriculture goods in a move that experts say won't completely offset pressures from the trade war with the US but could deliver a message that China is continuing to further open its economy. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday wrapped up his trip to Bulgaria with a clear message; China will further consolidate relations with European countries and safeguard the multilateral trade regime. Click here to read...

China Focus: China, Kuwait agree to establish strategic partnership: Xinhuanet
July 10, 2018

President Xi Jinping on Monday held talks with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the Great Hall of the People, and both agreed to establish a strategic partnership between the two countries to inject new impetus into bilateral ties and open up new prospects in the new era. Welcoming the emir's seventh visit to China, Xi expressed appreciation for the important contribution Al-Sabah has made to China-Kuwait ties. Click here to read...

True dominance of China's Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent revealed - and how their influence extends worldwide: South China Morning Post
July 10, 2018

China’s internet giants are competing with each other on multiple fronts either by nurturing their in-house products and services, or by investing in external players for access to technology and users, in sectors including artificial intelligence, e-commerce, and media and content, according to the China Internet Report. Click here to read...

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