VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - November 24, 2022
Aakriti Vinayak, Research Associate, VIF
Afghanistan
Blinken: Qatar Continues to Be Main Transit Point for Afghans: Tolo News

US Secretary Antony Blinken at a press conference said that after the Islamic Emirate took power in Afghanistan Qatar played an indispensable role in helping them relocate tens of thousands of at-risk Afghans, aid workers, diplomats, and others. Click here to read...

US Providing $327 Million In Aid to Afghanistan, Blinken Says: Tolo News

The United States will provide an additional $327 million in aid to Afghanistan to shore up humanitarian assistance, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. "This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighboring countries through international humanitarian organizations," Blinken said in a statement. Click here to read...

Taliban Requests Afghan Refugees to Abstain from Protesting in Pakistan and Iran: The Khaama Press

Afghan refugees were urged not to participate in the protests since they were Pakistani and Iranian domestic affairs, according to Abdul Rahman Rashid, the Taliban’s deputy minister for refugees and repatriation. Click here to read...

Bangladesh
IORA Council of Ministers meet today – The Daily Star

Bangladesh today hosts the 22nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting in the capital aimed at boosting cooperation among the regional countries to ensure a free, open and secure Bay of Bengal and Asia-Pacific. Ministers, state ministers and assistant ministers from the 23 IORA member states are already in Dhaka to attend the meeting. "We want free, inclusive, secure and peaceful navigation for all without any encumbrance in the region," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters following bilateral meetings with ministers of Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Tanzania and Japan at the Hotel InterContinental yesterday evening. Click here to read...

Jessore rolls out the red carpet for PM Hasina – Dhaka Tribune

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a public meeting in this stadium on December 26, 1972. Jessore, one of the oldest cities in the country, is ready to receive Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday as she is set to attend the first massive political rally of the ruling party outside Dhaka in the lead up to the next general election. People of Jessore and southern parts of the country are enthusiastic about attending the grand rally, as this will be Sheikh Hasina's first visit to the city in almost five years. Click here to read...

3 binding conditions for IMF loan – The Daily Star

The International Monetary Fund is set to tag three binding conditions and a host of structural reforms for the prospective $4.5 billion loan to Bangladesh, as the Washington-based multilateral lender looks to bring in lasting reforms in the country. The mandatory conditions -- which are specific, measurable targets called quantitative performance criteria (QPC) -- would be a minimum level of net international reserves and domestic revenue collection and a ceiling on the government's budget deficit, The Daily Star has learnt from people involved in the negotiations with the IMF staff mission to thrash out the terms for the loanClick here to read...

Bhutan
State set to tie up with Bhutan to develop Buddhist circuit – The Hindu

Bhutan is set to join the league of nations that are setting up monasteries near the Buddhavanam project being executed by the State near Nagarjunakonda. A delegation of Buddhist monks from Bhutan on Wednesday interacted with Minister for Culture V. Srinivas Goud and evinced interest in taking the project to the next level. “Maharashtra, Bihar and other states have a Buddhist circuit. But they don’t have what Telangana has. You have Acharya Nagarjuna,” said Khenpo Ugyen Namgyel, Secretary of Central Monastic Body of Bhutan leading a delegation of 24 monks. Click here to read...

Bhutan joins the seed-sharing initiative – Kuensel Online

Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Nepal, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam signed an agreement to foster cross-country seed-sharing and empower the region’s seed sector yesterday in Thimphu. Called Seeds Without Borders, the agreement aims to speed up the distribution of modern, climate-resilient rice varieties across nations to help vulnerable farmers establish a secure food supply for their families and earn a higher income. Bhutan joined the Seeds Without Borders agreement on June 13, 2018. Click here to read...

Maldives
EU Ambassadors call on pres. ahead of sixth Maldives – EU Policy Dialogue - Raajje

The delegation called on President Solih at the President’s Office, on Wednesday and was headed by The EU Ambassador to Maldives, Denis Chaibi. The delegation included Ambassador of Italy to Maldives Rita Manella, Ambassador of Austria to Maldives Katharina Wieser, Ambassador of Germany to Maldives Holger Seubert, Ambassador of Netherlands to Maldives Bonnie Horbach, Chargé d'affaires at the Embassy of Romania Victor Chiujdea, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of France Aurélien Maillet. Click here to read...

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister thanked Indian Govt for its contributions to enhance skills, competence of civil servants of Maldives - News On Air

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid has thanked the Indian Government for its contributions to enhance the skills and competence of civil servants of Maldives. He expressed his gratitude during a meeting held with Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mr. Bharat Lal. Click here to read...

Myanmar
Hun Sen: Myanmar sliding into full-fledged civil war - Phnompen Post

Myanmar is moving towards a full-fledged civil war, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned while addressing senior military leaders from many countries including China and the US at the opening ceremony of the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Siem Reap on November 23. He said the civil war was already underway in some parts of Myanmar. “Cambodia, as the victim of more than three decades of civil war, has useful experience to share in making, building and maintaining peace and building a post-war nation,” he added. Click here to read...

Restoration of democracy in Myanmar is crucial for ‘sustainable’ repatriation of Rohingya, says Japan - UNB

Japan is banking on restoration of democracy in Myanmar for the sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh. “Sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya would be possible after the resumption of democracy in Myanmar,” visiting Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke. Click here to read...

Myanmar Regime and Russia Sign Nuclear Power Plant Memorandum - The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s junta signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday with Rosatom, Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation, according to a Rosatom press release. The military regime’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) and Rosatom signed the MOU on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ATOMEXPO-2022 in Sochi, Russia. The proposed nuclear power plants will be based on Russian small modular reactor technology. Click here to read...

US, China defence chiefs meet in Cambodia - Mizzima

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Cambodia on Tuesday, with both sides describing the talks as productive without backing away from their core positions. The rival powers have clashed over a host of issues including Taiwan, security and human rights, but there have been attempts to lower the temperature since a rare summit between the leaders of both countries last week. Click here to read...

ANZ will become first international bank to withdraw from Myanmar - Mizzima

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) said it will withdraw from Myanmar by early 2023, making it the first international bank to withdraw from the country. The withdrawal follows the October 2022 blacklisting of Myanmar by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. Click here to read...

Nepal
China Encroaches On 36 Hectares of Nepal's Land At 10 Places: Report - NDTV

China's salami-slice strategy on Nepal's northern border has resulted in the encroachment of 36 hectares of Nepal's land at 10 places on the northern border by China. According to the survey document issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, China encroached on 36 hectares of Nepal's land at 10 places on the northern border. Similarly, the study conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs has concluded that it is necessary to include border issues in the "state policy" of Nepal, reported Meta Khabar. Click here to read...

Vote count update: NC wins 25 seats; UML 15 and Maoist 7 – Khabarhub

Nepali Congress (NC) is still leading as the counting of votes is underway throughout the country. In the initial vote count of the election held on Sunday, Nepali Congress (NC) has taken the lead, followed by CPN-UML so far. Till now, NC has won in 25 constituencies and the UML in 15 constituencies. As of now, NC is still leading in 31 constituencies followed by UML, which is leading in 29 constituencies. The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which has already won five seats, is leading in four constituencies. Click here to read...

Aid or political interference? China finances NGO with links to Nepal former PM Oli's party ahead of polls – Times Now

China has begun helping political organisations in Nepal. High-level sources speak of financial help from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu to an NGO with political links. The payout is believed to be about one crore Nepalese Rupees. This is being seen by some as interference with the country's political process. The NGO has strong links with former Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli, president of the Communist Party of Nepal, the CPN-UML Some members of the NGO are contesting the polls as candidates of Oli's party. The Chinese have good reason to support Oli for Nepal signed a crucial Transit and Transport agreement with China in 2015 when Oli was the PM. Click here to read...

Chen Song to be China’s Nepal envoy – The Kathmandu Post

China has proposed Chen Song, one of its senior diplomats, as the new ambassador to Nepal. Chen is currently deputy director general at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He will replace Hou Yanqi, who has already returned to China after completing her four-year tenure in October. The Chinese side informally communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about its decision to appoint Chen as the new envoy but no official communication has yet been made, according to a foreign ministry official. Click here to read...

Pakistan
Imran insists Alvi will consult him on chief’s selection: Dawn

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has claimed that President Dr Arif Alvi will “definitely” consult him as soon as the summary for the appointment of next army chief reaches his office. Click here to read...

Army role in politics is unconstitutional, says Gen Bajwa: The Express Tribune

Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said on Wednesday the military had started “its catharsis” and would remain apolitical in the future, emphasising that political parties should also reflect on their behaviour so that there was an “elected” government in the country instead of “selected” or “imported” one. Click here to read...

Pakistan continues talks with IMF on flood expenditures: The News

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities are continuing talks for finalising reprioritizing expenditures on floods, including BISP spending and rehabilitation needs besides accelerating reforms to preserve fiscal stability. Click here to read...

Sri Lanka
No room for another ‘aragalaya’ – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday emphasized that any attempts to create another Aragalaya (struggle) aiming at changing the government will not be allowed in the country. He said that military will be deployed and Emergency Law will be enforced to prevent such attempts as there is no room for Dinh Diems in this country. “The military will be deployed. Emergency Law will be enforced. Another Aragalaya will not be allowed. I won’t let Dinh Diem’s rule in this country. There is no room for Dinh Diems in this country.” he said. Click here to read...

President calls for All-Party meeting to discuss national issue – Daily News

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called for an All-Party meeting to discuss and solve the national issue. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, President Wickremesinghe said the meeting can be held during the second week of December. The President noted that once the 2023 Budget process is complete on December 8, all parties can convene for the decisive meeting. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the matter has been discussed on various occasions and various opinions have been expressed and therefore it is imperative that all parties convene and come to a consensusClick here to read...

Towards a new election culture – Daily News

The long-awaited law to limit election campaign funding is to become a reality at last. Cabinet approval was received on Monday for the enactment of the Campaign Finance Bill that will bind all candidates contesting elections, of whatever variety, for their campaign spending to be done under the strict supervision of the National Elections Commission (NEC). In fact, it was formulated in 2016 and was awaiting approval of the Attorney General, which has been finally obtained. Accordingly, the Draft Bill will be gazetted following which it will be presented to Parliament. Once the Bill becomes law, all candidates shall bear responsibility for funding his/her election campaign. In addition he/she will also have to disclose the source(s) of such funding. A ceiling will also be placed on the amount spent on a single electorate while the candidates will also be required to open a Special Elections Account (SEA) which will be the only source from which candidates can withdraw funds for their campaign funding. The new law is a revolutionary step and will go a long way in changing the present election culture which is reeking of corruption. Click here to read...

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