VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 23nd May, 2018


World Bank says it’s seeking amicable solution to Pakistan-India water dispute: Dawn
May 23, 2018

The World Bank said on Tuesday that it was holding talks with a Pakistani delegation to seek an amicable resolution of its water dispute with India. A Pakistani delegation, headed by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, arrived in Washington on Sunday, a day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a controversial dam in India-held Kashmir, which Pakistan fears will reduce its share in the waters of the Indus and its tributaries. The Indus system of rivers comprises three western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — and three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi. The controversial Kishanganga dam is built on the Neelum river, which is a tributary of the Jhelum river. “Senior World Bank officials are meeting on Monday and Tuesday with a Pakistan delegation at their request to discuss issues concerning the Indus Waters Treaty,” a World Bank spokesperson, Elena Karaban, told Dawn. The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty gives Pakistan exclusive use of the western rivers, the Jhelum, Chenab and Indus, while the eastern rivers — Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — go to India. Click here to read...


First-ever Kabul solar energy plant goes functional: Pajhwok
May 22, 2018

For the first time, the Afghan capital Kabul went ‘green’ on Tuesday when a 30-kilovote solar energy plant was made functional, an official said. Amanullah Ghaleb, Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) head, inaugurated the project in Demazank area of Kabul. Speaking on the occasion, Ghaleb said the solar energy plants were established on the roof of DABS building, which would provide electricity to the facility during daytime. He said the project cost 30,000 euros provided by GIZ. “DABS wants to expand this program and in the next two years, more similar projects will be implemented to generate a total of 500 megawatts of electricity.” Thomas Feidieker, GIZ representative, said Germany was committed to supporting Afghanistan in different areas. Click here to read...

Nepal-India issue ends as Delhi closes field office: Kathmandu Post

May 23, 2018

Ten years after its establishment in 2008 in the aftermath of the Koshi floods, India has communicated to the government of Nepal its decision to shut its Biratnagar-based field office. A diplomatic spat brewed between Kathmandu and New Delhi after India’s reluctance to remove the camp. Then deputy prime minister and foreign minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha wrote to the government of India to remove the office as soon as possible, stating that its objective had been fulfilled. India later tried to upgrade the outpost to a consulate office but the plan did not materialise due to Nepal’s denial.A small office was set up in the aftermath of the floods to assist vehicular movement across the Koshi river via India when a long stretch of the East-West highway in Nepal was damaged by floods. Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry of India, late on Monday issued a statement saying: “The Biratnagar Camp Office of the Embassy of India in Nepal was opened in 2008 to deal with the situation arising out of devastating Koshi floods. The purpose for which this Camp Office was opened has been fulfilled.”He further said that the government of India had already decided to “wind up the Camp Office and re-locate the personnel”. Click here to read...


Bangladesh: Extrajudicial killing fears in drug crackdown: Al Jazeera
May 22, 2018

Bangladesh's security forces have killed more than 30 alleged drug dealers in gun battles over the past week with right activists warning a campaign of extrajudicial killings may be under way. The suspects were killed across the country under similar circumstances since the nationwide crackdown on the narcotics trade was launched in early May, Al Jazeera discovered from police reports. In most cases, local police and members of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) force acted on tip-offs, raided houses where alleged drug traffickers operated, and after coming under fire engaged in deadly "shootouts". The recent spree of "shootouts" started after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier this month asked RAB to tackle the drug problem. According to the Department of Narcotics Control of Bangladesh, there are at least seven million drug addicts, of which five million are hooked on methamphetamine. Click here to read...


Election Commission warns MDP could be dissolved if Nasheed contests in primary: Haveeru
May 22, 2018

If former President Mohamed Nasheed is allowed to contest in main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) presidential primary, the party may be dissolved, the Elections Commission warned Tuesday. In a notice sent to MDP by the Elections Commissioner Ahmed Shareef, he reiterated that Nasheed has been convicted of a criminal offense, which disqualifies him from contesting in the upcoming presidential election slated for September, as per Maldives Constitution. He noted that the commission has been receiving complaints, as MDP activists have been actively campaigning for the former president in Male and in the atolls. The Elections Commission had declared that it would not accept a MDP primary which includes Nasheed. Shareef stated that action would be taken against MDP under articles 31 and 49 of the Political Parties Act, if Nasheed competes in the party primary for the presidential bid. Click here to read...


Xi calls for enhanced SCO security cooperation: People’s Daily
May 23, 2018

The recent landing of bomber aircraft on a South China Sea island by the People's Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday met with heads of foreign delegations attending the 13th meeting of Security Council Secretaries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing. During the meeting, Xi suggested that the SCO member countries continue to uphold the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, and promote a security governance model that addresses both symptoms and root causes, so as to push forward the SCO security cooperation to a new level. Click here to read...

China orders farmers to grow more soybeans despite deal to buy more produce from US: South China Morning Post
May 23, 2018

Local authorities in China are encouraging their farmers to grow more soybeans despite the country’s agreement to buy more agricultural products from the United States. Click here to read...

Expert says China needs to build at least six aircraft carriers: People’s Daily
May 22, 2018

At least six aircraft carriers need to be built by China to safeguard national security and protect interests overseas, said Chinese military expert Liang Fang, after China's second aircraft carrier completed initial sea trials on May 18. Click here to read...

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