Taliban confirm stance regarding India, Pakistan, Kashmir following social media rumors
The Khaama Press | 19th May
The Taliban group confirmed its stance regarding the position of the group regarding India and Kashmir following speculations on social media which claimed that the group would support Pakistan in Kashmir.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the political office of Taliban in Qatar, tweeted late on Monday that the statement attributed to Taliban regarding India, is false.
According to Shaheen, the statement was published on certain media outlets. However, he said the Islamic Emirate has a clear policy that it would not interfere in internal affairs of the other countries.
Myanmar’s Largest Ethnic Armed Group Invites Military Chief to Visit
The Irrawaddy | 21st May
Chairman of United Wa State Party (UWSP) Bao Youxiang has invited Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, to visit Wa State and “give guidance”.
External relations officer Nyi Rang of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the military arm of the UWSP, said the invitation was to promote bilateral ties.
Founded on April 17, 1989, the UWSA signed a ceasefire with the then military government — the State Law and Order Restoration Council — in the same year, after splitting from the Communist Party of Burma.
Impact of Covid-19: Additional 23% people fall in poverty in April
Dhaka Tribune | 20th May
'Beyond the 20.5% of the population officially recognized as poor, there was a group of ‘new poor’ representing an additional 22.9% of the population that needed to be brought within the discussion on poverty'.
An additional 23% people fell in poverty in April in the country compared to the figure in February caused by steep decline in income due to the outbreak of Covid-19 that pushed the poverty rate to over 43%.
A research titled “PPRC-BIGD Rapid Response Research Livelihoods, Coping and Support During Covid-19 Crisis” reveled the findings on Wednesday.
Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic and Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind
Afghanistan Times | 21st May
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world with unprecedented ferocity. No country can stay out of it and keep safe alone. Nothing is better than the global public health crisis to reveal the objective reality that all human beings are bound to share weal and woe. Nations are put in the same boat, suffering from and trying to managing the waves together, through life and death. The human race is experiencing great pains. Nevertheless, the current international order is increasingly under the impact of unilateralism and protectionism, allowing and fueling the pandemic to rage on. “Can we come together to face a common and dangerous enemy?” asked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Deep thinking is needed here.
Pentagon’s latest report regarding Pakistan’s support to Taliban, Haqqani Network
The Khaama Press | 21st May
The Department of Defense (Pentagon) released its latest report outlining Pakistan’s continued support to Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.
The Pentagon report, prepared by the Inspector General, complied with the helip of the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development, covers the period from January to March of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.
Coronavirus cases surge past 8k in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Times | 20th May
Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday said that it has recorded 492 new covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 8,145 across the country.
Kabul has once again hit worse with 262 new cases from 1,003 samples that had been tested during this period, the ministry said.
So far 10 deaths reported in Bangladesh as cyclone Amphan devastates coastal districts
Prothom Alo | 21st May
Ten people have been killed and three others injured as Cyclone ‘Amphan’ devastated different coastal districts of Bangladesh.
The deaths were reported from Kalapara and Galachipa upazilas of Patuakhali district, Charfashion and Borhanuddin upazilas of Bhola district, Mathbaria upazila of Pirojpur district under Barishal division, Satkhira district, Chowgachha upazila of Jashore district and Sandwip upazila of Chattogram district, according to the control room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
BOTOF regional dialog today
Bangladesh Post | 21st May
Bangladesh Outbound Tour Operators Forum (BOTOF) will hold a regional dialog online with a host of foreign counterparts on Thursday, said a press release.
Thai envoy to Dhaka and officials from Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thai Airways International, and Vejthani Hospital Thailand will join the dialog titled “Situation and planning update on Thailand tourism”.
Those who are doing outbound business with Thailand and medical tourism are requested to join the online session Zoom video platform (meeting ID: 419 660 6531) at 3pm Dhaka time.
PM: Covid-19 shows silver linings on change of global climate efforts
Dhaka Tribune | 21st May
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that although the Covid-19 pandemic had severely affected the economy along with public health, it has also showed some silver linings on the change of global efforts to deal with the climate change and growing competition for natural resources.
The prime minister said this while delivering her speech through video message in the 76th Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on Thursday, reports UNB.
Jinping phones PM Hasina, offers sending expert team to fight COVID-19
Prothom Alo | 20th May
Chinese president Xi Jinping on Wednesday called prime minister Sheikh Hasina and proposed sending an expert team to help Bangladesh combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Chinese president phoned the prime minister around 5:00pm today and wanted to know from her about the coronavirus situation in Bangladesh,” PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told news agency BSS.
World Bank commits USD 14.8M for climate and disaster response
Kuensel | 21st May
World Bank (WB) has committed to providing USD 14.8 million (M) to help Bhutan carry out comprehensive reforms to manage climate and disasters risks, including disease outbreaks.
Finance Minister Namgay Tshering and WB’s acting country representative Tenzin Lhaden signed the agreement in Thimphu.
This agreement is a development policy financing with Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO).
WHO donates 10000 COVID-19 testing kits to Maldives
Maldives Times | 19th May
World Health Organisation (WHO) provided 10,000 testing kits for COVID-19 and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Maldives.
With this donation, the international health agency has gifted total 21,000 testing kits for the novel coronavirus to the island nation till date.
Japan grants MVR 21.7 mln through UNDP to support Maldives' economic recovery
The Edition | 21st May
The government of Japan granted MVR 21.7 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Maldives.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the grant aid package aims to assist the island nation overcome the challenges faced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and gear up towards recovery.
Parliament settles on salary for Children’s Ombudsman
Maldives Times | 19th May
The Parliament’s Public Finance Committee, confirmed a salary of MVR 35,000 for the Children’s Ombudsman.
Prior to the decision, a number of committee members raised concerns about posting remuneration for the job, at a time during which the government is reducing salaries of state-appointed employees, in response to the global economic regression brought forth by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi Hopeful on Belt and Road Projects in Myanmar During COVID-19
The Irrawaddy | 21st May
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed hope that Myanmar will speed up cooperation with China to implement its ambitious infrastructure projects in the country during a recent call with Myanmar President U Win Myint.
In the phone conversation, Xi said that he is expecting the two sides will cooperate closely and speed up the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that were agreed to during his visit to Myanmar earlier this year.
Myanmar govt seeks parliament nod for COVID-19 loans
Myanmar Times | 21st May
The government has sought approval for US$750 million in loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to be used in the fight against COVID-19.
U Maung Maung Win, deputy minister of Planning, Finance and Industry, told parliament on May 18 that part of the loans will be used to stimulate the economy.
“A loan of $700 million from a rapid credit facility (RCF) and rapid financing instrument (RFI) will be received by the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry under a one-year project term,” he said.
Cyclone Amphan causes weatherly disturbances in parts of country
The Kathmandu Post | 21st May
Cyclone Amphan, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, will leave disturbance in Nepal’s weather at least until Friday, according to the country’s weather office.
The Meteorological Forecasting Division, under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, has said that the cyclone, which made landfall in West Bengal of India on Wednesday afternoon, hitting coastal areas, will have a general impact on Nepal’s weather condition.
Govt issues interim guideline to permit private hospitals to conduct RDT
The Himalayan Times | 20th May
The Ministry of Health and Population has issued an interim guideline in regard with granting permission to private and community hospitals to conduct COVID-19 test through Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) procedures.
As per the guideline, only private and community hospitals registered in the Ministry will be eligible for conducting the tests. Prior to this, on Tuesday, the Ministry decided to allow public health institutions to carry out PCR test for coronavirus.
Nepal issues new political map, claiming disputed territory its own
The Himalayan Times | 20th May
Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal today issued Nepal’s new political and administrative map depicting Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas as Nepal’s territory. India, however, has political and administrative control over these areas and claims them to be its part.
After issuing the map at the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation today, Aryal said the occasion marked a milestone in the glorious history of the country.
US urges China to waive off Pakistan's debt amid Covid-19 crisis
The Express Tribune | 20th May
The United States urged China either to wave off or renegotiate what it called “unsustainable and unfair” debt of Pakistan as it once again raised serious questions about the lack of transparency in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“At a time of crisis like Covid-19, it is really incumbent on China to take steps to alleviate the burden that this predatory, unsustainable and unfair lending is going to cause to Pakistan,” said Alice Wells, the outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
ADB approves $300 million loan to help Pakistan fight pandemic
The Nation | 20th May
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and help meet the basic needs of vulnerable and poor segments of society.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant detrimental impact on the health and economic prospects of the people of Pakistan,” said ADB Vice President Shixin Chen. “Financing through this project will fast-track ADB’s assistance to strengthen Pakistan’s public health capabilities, provide immediate support to vulnerable women and their families and facilitate knowledge sharing with Pakistan's neighbours and other countries in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation region.”
Lockdown over, Pakistan's Covid-19 deaths, infections tick higher
Dawn | 21st May
Covid-19 infections trended higher in recent days and were approaching 50,000, official data showed, with total deaths crossing 1,000, as the government remained unsure over the consequences of its decision to end the nation's lockdown.
Fearful of the economic and financial impact, and swayed by the acute hardship suffered by millions of poor families, Prime Minister Imran Khan has defended the lifting of the lockdown last week, saying the virus spread has been well below projections.
Sri Lanka national inflation declines to 5.9 percent in April 2020
Colombo Page | 21st May
Sri Lanka’s nationwide inflation in April 2020 determined under the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) declined to 5.9 percent from 7.0 percent recorded in March 2020 on a year-on-year basis, the Department of Census and Statistics reported.
The NCPI for all items for the month of April 2020 decreased to 134.8 from 135.2 in previous month. The month-on-month change was contributed totally by decrease of index values of food items by 0.33%. The group of non-food items remained unchanged during the month of April 2020.
Balance of COVID-19 Fund reaches Rs.1,128mn
Daily Mirror | 20th May
The balance of COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund reached Rs.1,128 million today, the President's Media Division said. It said the staff of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has handed over Rs.2, 205,448.89 to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, today. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera donated his full salary for the month of May to the COVID-19 Fund. Attorney General Dappula de Livera handed over Rs.1, 326,449.00 collected by the Legal Officers’ Association of the Attorney General's Department, to the President.
U.S. provides more than $5.8 million in total COVID-19 assistance to Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 20th May
The United States is providing more than $5.8 million assistance to Sri Lanka through the State Department and the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its global COVID-19 assistance.
The COVID-19 assistance to-date from the State Department and USAID to Sri Lanka includes $2 million in Economic Support Fund (ESF) to increase social services for areas and populations most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, address the specific threats to social cohesion, and mitigate negative economic impacts.