New envoy assures India’s continued cooperation to Sri Lanka ‘in all manners possible’
Colombo Page | 14th May
 
The new Indian envoy to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay has assured Sri Lankan President of India’s continued cooperation to Sri Lanka, including for economic recovery, in all manners possible.
Baglay, the new High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka presented his Letter of Credence (credentials) to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today forenoon, in a ceremony held through video-conferencing.

 

Russia reacts to President Ghani’s order to Afghan forces for offensive operations
The Khaama Press | 14th May
 
Moscow reacted to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s latest order to the Afghan forces in which he ordered the national defense and security forces to resume offensive operations against the militants, including Taliban.
Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS that President Ghani’s order to launch an offensive against the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) and the suspension of the release of Taliban prisoners will halt the process of launching intra-Afghan negotiations.

 

Indian security force helping Nepalis cross the border amid lockdown
The Himalayan Times | 13th May
 
Indian security forces have been helping Nepalis cross the border amid lockdown during COVID-19 crisis despite there being a requirement to quarantine people where they are.
As seventeen Nepalis crossed the border from Auraya in Ishanath area of Rautahat district, Nepali security forces have questioned the action of their Indian counterpart.
Security agencies have claimed that the Indian security personnel have been assisting Nepalis to cross the border during the night.

 

AFGHANISTAN

 

Afghanistan’s coronavirus cases surge past 5K
Afghanistan Times | 13th May
 Ministry of Public Health said that it has recorded 259 new positive cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 5,226 in Afghanistan.
Health Ministry Deputy Spokesman Wahidullah Majroh in a press conference said that out of 619 samples, 259 were tested positive.
27 new cases were recorded in Kabul, 22 in Herat, 29 in Kandahar, 49 in Balkh, 23 in Nangarhar, 25 in Takhar and 10 cases each in Parwan and Kunar provinces.
 
Taliban reacts to attack in West of Kabul city, targeting a hospital
The Khaama Press | 12th May
The Taliban group reacted to the attack in West of Kabul city which targeted a hospital in Dasht-e Barchi area of the city.
“Attack in Dashti Barchi area of #Kabul city has no relation with the Mujahidin of Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said.
A group of of militants attacked a hospital in West of Kabul city in Kabul city, killing at least 13 people.
 
China reiterates support for Afghanistan peace, development
Afghanistan Times | 12th May
The Chinese ambassador to Kabul Mr. Wang Yu has assured his country’s support to a stable and developed Afghanistan.
“China always stands with Afghanistan by practical actions to safeguard peace and development, and build a community of shared future for mankind,” Ambassador Wang Yu said this in a ceremony to hand over medical supplies form People’s Liberation Army of China that arrived to Kabul by Chinese Airforce plane.

 

BANGLADESH

 
Bangladesh reports coronavirus cases in Rohingya camp
Prothom Alo | 14th May
The novel coronavirus has been detected in one of the camps in southern Bangladesh that are home to more than a million Rohingyas, officials said, as humanitarian groups warned that the infection could devastate the crowded settlement.
An ethnic Rohingya refugee and another person have tested positive for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a UN spokeswoman said. It was the first confirmed case in the camps, which are more densely populated than most crowded cities on earth.
 
Govt for strictly enforcing travel ban as general holiday extends to May 30
Dhaka Tribune | 14th May
The government is looking to strictly enforce the ban on travelling within and outside Bangladesh, especially during the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, as it extends the general holiday till May 30 to curtail further Covid-19 infections. 
The Cabinet Division issued a gazette notification on Thursday extending the nationwide general holiday for the fifth time, as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in the country. 
 
PM launches cash aid for poor
Bangladesh Post | 14th May
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the disbursement of Taka 1,250 crore cash assistance among 50 lakh poor families hit hard amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, saying that removing the ordeals of the people of every area is her only goal.
“My only goal is to remove the plight of the people of every area and I want to achieve that aim,” she said while formally inaugurating the programme through a videoconference from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.
 
 

BHUTAN

 
20 Covid-19 cases
Kuensel | 15th May
With nine new Covid-19 cases detected in the last 24 hours, Bhutan’s Covid-19 tally has jumped to 20 as of yesterday.
This puts the total number of active cases to 15 of which 14 are in the isolation ward at the national referral hospital. One patient is in de-isolation, in a hotel after testing negative twice within 24 hours.
While those who are currently under isolation have active infection, majority of them are asymptomatic, according to health officials. This means that unlike in most of the countries, the patients are not put on life supporting machines like a ventilator. Apart from occasional fever, many live a regular life even at the isolation ward.
 
Govt. prepares to reopen schools
Kuensel | 15th May
Schools are likely to reopen in a phased manner beginning next month going by a notification the education ministry issued to all dzongdags and thrompons yesterday.
The notification cited directives from the Prime Minister’s Office to prepare re-opening of schools in a phased manner from June.
The notification stated that the most important conditions to be met, as stressed by the prime minister is mandatory provisions for enough drinking water and handwashing stations in schools as preparedness to combat the risk of Covid-19 pandemic.
 
 

MALDIVES

 
 Govt to provide financial aid to locals studying abroad
The Edition | 14th May
Ministry of Higher Education, confirmed the decision to provide financial aid to Maldivians studying in foreign countries, who find themselves in-need amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid to ease students' financial burdens in the economic regression that follows this crisis, would be accorded to all Maldivians studying abroad, both self-funded as well as those supported via private sponsors for a two-month period.
 
State expenditure on COVID-19 response reach MVR 814 million
Maldives Times | 13th May
Ministry of Finance on Monday revealed that the state’s total expenditure on COVID-19 response has reached MVR 814.2 million, as of May 11.
According to the finance ministry’s public records, government expenditure rose by 22.4 per cent compared to the week before. Records from last week showed that government spending on COVID-19 response stood at MVR 665 million. In just a week’s time, government spending increased by MVR 147 million.
 
Parliament issues recommendations on COVID-19 response and relief measures
The Edition | 14th May
Maldives Parliament passed a set of recommendations to ease the financial burden on families and businesses due to the COVID-19 induced economic crisis.
The recommendations were part of a report commissioned by the Parliament and compiled by the parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs, declaring its stance on government’s COVID-19 response and relief measures.
 
 

MYANMAR

 
Kachin govt meets armed group in COVID-19 fight
Myanmar Times | 15th May
Representatives of the Kachin State government and the ethnic armed Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) met on May 13 to discuss a joint effort to fight COVID-19.
Colonel Naw Bu, KIO spokesperson, whose armed group is the largest in Kachin, said the meeting took place at Mai Sak Pa village in Waingmaw township.
"We agreed to cooperate, but the main obstacles are poor transportation and the fact that we are still included on the unlawful association list,” Col Naw Bu said.
 
Myanmar’s Major Cities to Ease Some COVID-19 Business Restrictions
The Irrawaddy | 14th May
Myanmar’s hardest-hit region for COVID-19, Yangon, will ease some restrictions in four townships as no new cases have been reported for 20 days, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.
The townships – Mingaladon, Hlaing Tharyar, Shwepyitha and Botahtaung – are among the country’s 10 COVID-19 hotspots which are currently under semi-lockdown.
 
Myanmar extends coronavirus flight ban to May 31
Myanmar Times | 14th May
Myanmar extended a ban on international commercial air traffic until the end of this month on May 14 to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The ban, first introduced on March 30 and extended by decrees since then, would now extend from May 15 to May 31, according to a memo to airlines from the civil aviation department and signed by its director general U Aung Kyaw Tun.
The decision was made by the National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19, the memo said.
 
 

NEPAL

 
National rights watchdog tells government to prioritise people’s right to health and employment in the upcoming budget

Kathmandu Post | 14th May
The National Human Rights Commission has urged the Nepal government to address people’s right to health and employment while also allocating adequate funds for agriculture and reliable disaster management in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2020/21.
 
 

PAKISTAN

 
Pakistani company to manufacture coronavirus drug, says Dr Zafar Mirza
The Nation | 15th May
A Pakistani pharmaceutical company will start to manufacture coronavirus drug Remdesivir within two months, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza. 
"American company Gilead has manufactured this drug and it has proven effective in treating coronavirus patients," he said during a press conference. "It is said that the use of the drug has reduced the intensity of the coronavirus by 30% in American hospitals [where they were tested]."
 
PM Imran joins world leaders’ demand for free virus vaccine for all
The Express Tribune | 14th May
Prime Minister Imran Khan joined the ranks of 140 world leaders, past and present, who insisted that any eventual Covid-19 vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone, free of charge.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz were among the signatories of a letter to the World Health Assembly (WHA), saying any vaccine should not be patented, while the science should be shared between nations.
 
Govt, opposition trade graft charges in Senate
Dawn | 15th May
The Senate saw the government and opposition members trading corruption charges, with Minister for Information Shibli Faraz saying that some parties wanted the country’s economy to collapse so as to get NRO.
What sparked a debate on those responsible for loot and plunder was the accusation by PML-N parliamentary leader in the Senate Mushahidullah Khan that the present government deems corruption as worship. He also said the ministers responsible for the sugar and wheat flour scam had been promoted. “All the elite are there in the cabinet,” he remarked.
 
 

SRI LANKA

 
Sri Lankan President calls on banking sector to think out of the box to achieve economic revival
Colombo Page | 15th May
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested the banking sector to deviate from conventional thinking and practice to support the country’s striving to rebuild the economy badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat Thursday with the senior officials of the banking sector, the President said the government was able to keep the coronavirus under control but the biggest challenge we face right now is to rebuild the collapsed economy.
 
China assures firm support to SL
Daily Mirror | 15th May
Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested on Wednesday that China and Sri Lanka, while ensuring COVID-19 prevention and control, gradually resume practical cooperation in various fields, advance major cooperation projects in an orderly manner and promote the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road.   
Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation in the night with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, adding that such efforts will provide impetus for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.

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