VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 17th July, 2018
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan pessimistic about free, fair election: Dawn
July 17, 2018

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has predicted that the coming general elections will be the dirtiest, most micromanaged and most intensively participated polls in the country’s history. Speaking at a news conference held a few hours after his meeting with the chief election commissioner (CEC) on Monday, HRCP spokesperson I.A. Rehman said that the commission had received complaints which were contrary to the spirit of elections. “We have serious doubts that elections will be free and fair. Before elections, efforts have been started to pressurise candidates to return tickets. Moreover, we have serious reservations about the use of military troops inside polling stations. So the issue was taken up with the CEC and he assured that officials will not go inside election booths,” he said. Click here to read...

Dostum Supporters Threaten To Derail Elections, Form ‘Own Govt’: Tolo News
July 16, 2018

Supporters of exiled First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum held a demonstration on Monday in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul city and warned government that if it failed to meet their demands they would boycott elections and form their own autonomous government. Protestors also called for the return of Dostum and the immediate release of Qaisar district police chief, from Faryab, Nizamuddin Qaisari. The protestors also chanted slogans calling on human rights organizations and the international community to encourage government to resolve the crisis. “If there is a National Unity Government the first vice president must be here,” said a protester Mohammad Zaman. “It has been fourteen days that people are protesting but (President Ashraf) Ghani has given no answers; the international community and human rights organizations must listen to our voices and take action,” said Farid, another protestor. Click here to read...

EU warns Sri Lanka over capital punishment: The Hindu
July 17, 2018

Ambassadors from the European Union (EU) warned Sri Lanka on Monday against ending its 42-year moratorium on capital punishment and said that the island risked losing trade concessions if it went ahead. Last week, President Maithripala Sirisena said that repeat drug offenders would be hanged as part of his administration’s new crackdown on narcotics. “The diplomatic missions have requested the President to maintain the moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty and to uphold Sri Lanka’s tradition of opposition to capital punishment,” the EU Ambassadors said in a joint statement. The communiqué was supported by their colleagues from Canada and Norway. Click here to read...

Persuade Myanmar to take back Rohingyas: PM Hasina to UN Envoy: The Daily
July 17, 2018

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener to persuade Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. She made the request when the special envoy on Myanmar met her at her office. Briefing reporters after the meeting, PM's press secretary Ihsanul Karim said the PM mentioned that Bangladesh talked to India, China, Thailand and Laos about the Rohingya crisis. Myanmar agreed on the participation of the UNHCR in the Rohingyas' repatriation process, the premier added. She thanked the international community for their support to the Bangladesh government on the crisis. Hasina said India, China and Japan were constructing houses in Rakhine for Rohingyas. The UN secretary general's special envoy put emphasis on implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine, led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, to solve the crisis. Click here to read...

Xi urges open world economy: China Daily
July 17, 2018

China and the European Union should make concerted efforts to safeguard multilateralism, the rules-based free trade system and an open world economy, President Xi Jinping said on Monday. Xi's remark came as he met with visiting European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Being among the world's largest economies and trading entities, China and the European Union are also the beneficiaries and defenders of the multilateral trading system, he said. Click here to read...

China’s countermeasures in the trade war are justifiable, legitimate: experts: People’s Daily
July 17, 2018

China’s countermeasures in the trade war are justifiable and legitimate, experts pointed out, believing that such response aims to safeguard China’s core interests and fundamental interests of its people, as well as to protect the principle of free trade and the multilateral trading system. “The Chinese side insisted on not firing the first shot, and was forced into taking reciprocal countermeasures after the US first started the trade war,” China’s Ministry of Commerce stressed in its recent statement. Click here to read...

United States challenges China, EU, Canada, Mexico, Turkey at WTO over steel tariffs: South China Morning Post
July 17, 2018

The United States on Monday brought cases against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey to the World Trade Organisation for retaliating against American tariffs on imported steel and aluminium. Click here to read...

Belt and Road countries attract Chinese students looking to study abroad: People’s Daily
July 16, 2018

Thanks to the current construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, Belt and Road countries are becoming more popular among Chinese students who decide to study abroad. Statistics released by China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) indicate that 66,100 Chinese students chose to study in en-route countries in 2017, up 15.7 percent from the previous year. China has been strengthening educational cooperation with Belt and Road countries since the initiative was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping five years ago. By the end of 2016, it had signed agreements of mutual recognition for degrees and diplomas with 47 en-route countries and regions, including the Czech Republic, Thailand and Russia. Click here to read...

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