Friday, 6 May 2016

Focus Neighbourhood -Daily Newsletter
Focus Neighbourhood -Daily Newsletter
Line 31-03-15 - Gray  

Highlights from the local media of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
 May 6th , 2016 | Volume: 2 - 5/5 

Top Stories​

More than a thousand Bhutanese sign the HeForShe Pledge
Kuenselonline | 5thMay
More than a thousand Bhutanese have now joined the HeForShe movement for gender equality, the latest being National Assembly Speaker, Jigme Zangpo, according to a UNDP press release. Eighteen members of parliament became HeForShe advocates, on Wednesday. The HeForShe campaign is a global solidarity movement in support of women’s rights and full equality between women and men.

CPN-UML, UCPN-M ink 9-pt agreement
The Himalayan Times | 6th May
After the UCPN-Maoist decided to continue support to the KP Sharma Oli-led government in Nepal, UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML on Thursday night signed a nine-point agreement. In the agreement, the two parties have decided to take initiatives to form a national consensus government with an objective to create conducive environment for the implementation of Constitution and socio-economic transformation.

Malaysia explores the possibility of a FTA with Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 5th May
Malaysia will explore the possibility of clinching a free trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka in efforts to increase the bilateral trade to a significant level, Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said. The Malaysian Minister, who is leading a 44-member trade and investment mission to India and Sri Lanka from May 1-7, discussed the bilateral trade between two countries and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka during a meeting with Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen.

60 released from Taliban prison in Helmand during Afghan commandos night raid
Khaama | 6th May
The Special Operation Forces of the Afghan National Army (ANA) conducted a night raid in southern Helmand province targeting a prison run by the Taliban insurgents.
Situation in Afghanistan remains highly volatile, Indian Embassy alerts citizens
Khaama | 6th May
The Embassy of India in Kabul has issued a  security alert to the Indian citizens residing in Afghanistan and travelling to the country, warning regarding the persistent volatile situation of the country.

Ashraf Ghani assigns Stanikzai as acting NDS chief, Abdullah Khan acting defense minister
Khaama | 5th May
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has appointed Mohammad MasoomStanikzai as the acting Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief.
Ministers, MPs criticise HC ruling on 16th amendment
The Daily Star | 5th May
Three ministers and a number of treasury and opposition bench MPs today criticised a High Court verdict that scrapped the 16th amendment to the constitution empowering the House to impeach Supreme Court judges for incapacity or misconduct. Law Minister Anisul Huq, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu termed the HC verdict unconstitutional and beyond jurisdiction of the HC. Terming the verdict as “a conspiracy against democracy and sovereign parliament”, the ministers and MPs said they will not tolerate any such conspiracy.
Won’t support any law against journalists’ interests: Press Council chief
The Daily Star | 5th May
Chairman of Bangladesh Press Council today said he would not approve any law that goes against the interests of journalists. “As long as I am here, I will not allow any law that goes against the interest of journalists,” Justice Mohammed Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed said at a programme jointly organised by weekly newspaper Kagoj Kalam and Abasan News, marking the World Press Freedom Day at the Jatiya Press Club. The press council has requested the law commission to recommend some amendments for making the present law more functional in favour of journalists so that no-one dares to violate the verdict of the council, he said.
Export earnings increase by 9.22pc in current fiscal
The Financial Express | 5th May
Export earnings of Bangladesh in first 10 months of current fiscal year (FY 2015-16) have increased by 9.22 per cent over the figures of corresponding period in last FY, says Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The country exported goods and services worth $27.63 billion during the July-April period of FY 2015-16 against $25.30 in the same previous period, show EPB data released on Thursday.
Noose tightens on Nizami for war crimes as Bangladesh Jamaat chief loses last legal battle
Bdnews24 | 5th May
Bangladesh’s highest court of appeals has thrown out top war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami’s last-ditch appeal to review his death penalty for atrocities during the 1971 War of Independence. The Supreme Court’s decision clears the final legal hurdle for the government to hang the Jamaat-e-Islami chief for directing rapes, mass murders, and massacre of intellectuals to stop Bangladesh emerge out of Pakistan as an independent nation.

Thimphu thromde proposes revision of land taxes
Kuenselonline | 5th May
Having proposed a revision of the existing urban land taxes to achieve financial sustainability, the Thimphu thromde is now working out the amount that would be submitted to the government. Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that it was difficult for the thromde to meet the current expenditure through internal revenue, as the existing tax rates are based on the 1992 Tax Rate, which were low.
BBIN motor vehicle agreement faces roadblock
Kuenselonline | 5th May
The government’s fight for ratification of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicle agreement will hit a major roadblock in the upcoming Parliament session.Days after Opposition Leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho spoke against the sub-regional transport agreement in a meeting with local leaders in Gelephu, transport operators reiterated to the government that it will do more harm than good, at a meeting in Thimphuon Wednesday.
Cooperative dream bursts
Kuenselonline | 5th May
Two years ago, villagers of Dezama in Choekhorling gewog purchased Jersey cattle with the hope to form milk cooperative and earn an income. Villagers claimed that livestock officials assured them that they would benefit. But instead of reaping any benefit, farmers said the Jersey cattle have become a burden after more than seven of them died after a few months. Despite it being two years since they purchased the Jersey cattle, neither have they produced milk or given birth, the villagers claimed.
Provisional Head of the Criminal Court Abdul Baaree: Judges would do whatever it takes to protect the sovereignty of Maldives
Sun Online | 5th May
The Provisional Head of the Criminal Court, Judge Abdul Baaree Yousuf has said that the judges would do whatever it takes to protect the sovereignty and the sanctity of the Maldivian state.  Speaking at the closing ceremony of the joint two-day seminar on Working Against Human Trafficking with the Department of Judicial Administration at Paradise Island Resort, Judge Baaree said that human trafficking is a gateway crime that leads to many other crimes and the judges are doing everything they can through the Judicial System to prevent it. 
First woman hired as MD of a government company
Sun Online | 5th May
Aminath Sharaahath from H. Kelaamaa Villa has become the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of a government company. Sharaahath was appointed MD of state-owned Khazaana Maldives Limited by Privatization Board.
US and USAID continues to support Myanmar buildup process
Eva Casper/ Mizzima| 5th May
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead development agency of the United States providing development aid all over the world. After years of military rule USAID re-opened its mission in Myanmar in 2012. Gayle Smith took over from her predecessor Rajiv Shah in December last year. USAID supported Myanmar during the election and maintains several projects in the country, including providing farmers technical and financial support to improve their business and fight hunger.
New ministry proposed for state counsellor
Mizzima| 6th May
President U HtinKyaw proposed the formation of a ministry for the state counsellor in a message sent to the PyidaungsuHluttaw yesterday, state media reported on 6 May. The proposal is intended to speed up the government’s efforts at national reconciliation, internal peace, national development and the rule of law, the president said in the massage.
HRW makes recommendations to new Myanmar government to address human rights challenges
Mizzima| 6th May
Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to Myanmar President HtinKyaw, outlining human rights challenges that Myanmar has faced and making recommendations how to address them. “We recognize the scale of the challenges your government faces in transforming Myanmar into a rights-respecting democracy after more than a half-century of military dictatorship and repression. The legacy of misrule you have inherited includes the fundamentally flawed 2008 constitution, which was designed to limit civilian reform and ensure residual constitutional powers for the national armed forces,” says the letter which was dated 4 May.
Thousands across Arakan State protest against fighting
BNI/Mizizma|6th May
Thousands of people protested against ongoing fighting in Arakan State in towns across the state on 1 May. Protests were held in Sittwe, Mrauk U, Pauktaw, Ponnagyun, Minbya, Rathedaung, Buthidaung, and Maungdaw. The protesters were calling for the Myanmar Army to halt offensives against the Arakan Army (AA) and for the Arakan Army and Union Government to hold meetings to come up with political solutions to the fighting. They also called for all those unfairly sent to prison for having ties to the AA to be released and for the Myanmar Army to stop violating the human rights of the Arakan people.
I have no intention to dissolve parliament: PM OliThe Kathmandu Post | 5th May
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has dismissed the rumours that the Legislature-Parliament is being dissolved. He reiterated his commitment to abide by the parliamentary practice. Addressing the Legislature-Parliament on Thursday, PM Oli made it clear that he has no intention to take any undemocratic step and would not stand against democratic practice.  “We heard a lot of rumours and went after them,” said Oli. “I was elected as the prime minister through this parliament and I will remain in this post as long as the parliament wants.”
India keenly following events in Nepal
Himalayan News Service / The Himalayan Time | 6th MayExternal Affairs Ministry of India today said it was closely following the political developments in Nepal.When asked how India views the UCPN-Maoist’s decision of withdrawing support to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s government and its subsequent backtracking from its earlier stand, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “These are internal political developments in Nepal.”“But, of course, as a close neighbour we are following developments in Nepal very closely,” he said during a weekly press briefing in New Delhi.
Budget discussion
Himalayan News Service / The Himalayan Time | 6th MayFinance Minister BishnuPaudel tabled a proposal at Thursday’s meeting of the Parliament demanding discussion on the principles and priorities of new budget.The House scheduled Friday and Saturday for pre-budget discussions, as per his proposal. Minister Paudel said the budget would give priority to increasing economic growth and investment in big infrastructure projects.
Foreign Office to seek ISI help for protecting itself from hackers
DAWN | 6th May
The Foreign Office will engage the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for protecting itself from hackers following cyber-attacks over the past 18 months. The foreign ministry has sought an allocation of Rs80 million in the next fiscal year’s budget for bolstering cyber-security and securing its communications with the country’s missions overseas, an official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday The Foreign Office will engage the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for protecting itself from hackers following cyber-attacks over the past 18 months. The foreign ministry has sought an allocation of Rs80 million in the next fiscal year’s budget for bolstering cyber-security and securing its communications with the country’s missions overseas, an official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
Special security for Chinese engaged in CPEC
The Nation | 5thMay
Special security steps have been taken for the Chinese nationals engaged in CPEC and other projects in the Punjab.
Nearly a million workers left Pakistan in 2015
The Express Tribune | 6thMay
Around a million Pakistanis left the country for better work opportunities in 2015 alone, a Senate panel was told on Thursday. This number peaked in 2015 when 946,571 Pakistanis moved to other countries. Since 2013, over 2.32m Pakistanis have left the country for work.
Twin cities put on high alert
Pakistan Observer | 5th May
Police and security agencies have beefed up security at key installations and some parts of the federal capital in order to thwart any backlash from the terrorists after the Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s approval of the death sentence of 11 high-profile terrorists here Wednesday. They were convicted by a military court.The intelligence agencies have also issued security alerts in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Power outages to haunt industry in peak summer
Pakistan Observer | 6th May
The industrial sector that is currently being provided zero load shedding will be exposed to the power outages in the month of June because of Ramazan. Power crisis is feared to deepen in July and August as demand will escalate to 25000 MW.
Afghans asked to leave Khyber Agency
Pakistan Observer | 6th May
The security forces and civil administration officials on Wednesday asked the Khyber Agency tribesmen to expel Afghan citizens from their areas as most of them were involved in terrorism bids to sabotage peace in Pakistan.

                                                                                                                      SRI LANKA
JO, JVP allege vote rigging in Parliament
The Island | 5th May
The Joint Opposition yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake after a recount of a vote taken at the end of yesterday’s debate to give approval for a supplementary estimate of Rs 55 mn for the government revealed original result had been distorted.
World Export Development Forum accentuates Sri Lanka's role as a regional hub for international trade
Colombo Page | 5th May
The 16th edition of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) to be held in Colombo in October will provide an opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka as a regional hub for international trade, Minister of Industry and Commerce RishadBathiudeen said. The WEDF 2016 co-hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka, through the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) will be held 12-13 October 2016 in Colombo.
Sri Lanka Navy arrests five Indians smuggling Ganja in to the island through sea
Colombo Page | 5th May
The Sri Lankan navy has arrested five Indians transporting a stock of Kerala Ganja in the territorial waters of the island on Wednesday. A Sri Lankan man was also arrested for helping them to transfer the stock of ganja. A naval patrol craft deployed west of Silavathurai and Mullikulam area in the Northwestern Naval Command, apprehended five Indians along with a boat while they were transferring approximately 120 kg of Kerala Ganja by sea on 4th May 2016.
India notes Sri Lanka wants end to bottom trawling to reach deal
Colombo Gazette | 6th May
India says Sri Lanka has sought an undertaking that Indian fishermen will not engage in bottom trawling in order to reach an agreement to end the dispute between fishermen from both countries. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh told the Rajya Sabha that the main reason for frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan authorities was due to the allegation that they indulge in bottom trawling and there being no physical demarcation of international maritime boundaries, NDTV reported.

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