Govt. releases 52 more Taliban fighters to accelerate peace efforts

Afghanistan Times | 6th May 

The government has released 52 Taliban prisoners as the process of prisoner swap continues with the hope of beginning of the peace negotiations.

Javed Faisal, a spokesman of the National Security Council, said that the newly released people were held in the Pul-e-Charkhi central jail and the release was carried out to run the peace process as well to prevent further spread of Corona virus inside the prison.


President Solih appeals to retired healthcare workers to join frontline efforts

The Edition | 4th May 

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih appealed to all able healthcare professionals to contribute to relief efforts amid the unprecedented circumstances presented by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

"Maldives faces a great need for health care providers due to COVID-19", stated the president during a nationally broadcasted address, highlighting that there were several retired health care professionals temporarily away from their duties. He urged them to return to service, also extending the appeal to the private healthcare industry.


China Pushes BRI Projects As Myanmar Rolls Out COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan

The Irrawaddy | 7th May 

China’s ambassador to Myanmar pushed to gear up for the implementation of Beijing’s key infrastructure projects in Myanmar despite the fact that both countries’ economies are facing a significant slowdown due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai and Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Set Aung met for ‘in-depth discussions’ Wednesday on the implementation of outcomes from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Myanmar in January, according to the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.



45 Afghan migrants died after being thrown into river by Iranian forces
Khaama Press | 8th May
The latest reports suggests that 45 Afghan migrants lost their lives after a group of 57 peope were thrown into river by the Iranian border guards.
Habiburrahman Pidram, a lawmaker from the westerly Herat province, told Reuters “These workers were kept in custody by Iranian forces and, after 24 hours, the Afghan workers were brought to the bank of the river, beaten and ordered to jump in the river to go back to Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan records 330 new positive cases of coronavirus in past 24 hours
Khaama Press | 5th May
Afghanistan recorded 30 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours, increasing the total number of infected people to 3,224.
The Ministry of Public (MoPH) confirmed that the authorities recorded 330 new cases in various provinces in the past 24 hours.
The Public Health Ministry officials said Tuesday that 5 people died of the virus in the past 24 hours while 24 others recovered.



Cabinet okays law to hold trials digitally
Bangladesh Post | 7th May
The cabinet approved an ordinance allowing the courts to hold trails digitally using the information technology in view of the coronavirus pandemic, report BSS.
It also gave final approval to “The Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty (Amendment) Act, 2020” and “The Income-tax Amendment Ordinance, 2020” in its weekly meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair held at her official Ganabhaban residence yesterday morning.
India begins taking back stranded students from Dhaka
Prothom Alo | 8th May
The government of India has decided to take back the students, stranded in Bangladesh due to restrictions on flight operation for coronavirus outbreak, to India by several special flights operating from Friday, reports UNB.
An Air India flight from Dhaka is scheduled to take them home to Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
US provides $22 Million to fight Covid-19
Dhaka Tribune | 7th May
The United States has provided over $22 million to complement Bangladesh’s ongoing efforts to prepare and respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19). 
The funding came through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to the US embassy in Dhaka.


Covid-19 task force in P’ling calls for unity and cooperation
Kuensel | 8th May
Calling on the people for unity and cooperation, the Covid-19 Task Force (C-19TF) in Phuentsholing, said that Bhutanese cannot be complacent under any circumstances.
The call for unity and cooperation comes in the light of neighbouring Jaigaon relaxing restrictions on movement of people and opening of businesses.
“This is a moment in time that requires all of us to act with unity of purpose for the safety and well-being of our families, friends and communities. We cannot afford to become complacent under any circumstances,” a statement released from the task force stated.


 COVID-19: State announces special allowance for frontliners
The Edition | 7th May
The state on Thursday announced a special allowance for high risk persons working on the front lines of Maldives’ COVID19 response
In answer to a question posed by The Edition's journalist during the press briefing held by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer declared that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided to grant an allowance after categorising frontliners based on risk levels.
Coronavirus Lockdown: India to evacuate 200 of its nationals from Maldives this week
Maldives Times | 5th May
India is likely to evacuate 200 of its nationals stranded in the Maldives due to lockdown to contain COVID-19 by a ship within a week.
The High Commission of India in Male stated that a ship would evacuate 200 Indian citizens, who were stranded in the Maldives due to the restrictions imposed on international travels in both the nations to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.



Over 600 large factories in Mandalay set to reopen
Myanmar Times | 8th May
The Mandalay regional government has allowed the re-opening of more than 600 factories in the region after they passed inspections for complying with COVID-19 regulations, an official said on May 7.
U Ye Win Aung, secretary of the Mandalay industrial zone management committee, said about 1000 factories have been inspected since the government ordered a check of all factories in the country on April 20 to ensure their compliance with measures to prevent the spread of the disease. 
Myanmar ready to quarantine up to 100,000 returning workers
Myanmar Times | 7th May
The government is ready to quarantine up to 100,000 returning migrant workers, mostly from China and Thailand, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a senior Foreign Affairs Ministry official said. 
But U Aung Kyaw Zan, director general of Consular and Legal Affairs for the ministry, said the number of workers who want to return home may decline after Thai factories reopen.


Nepal Army writes to China to expedite delivery of medical equipment
The Kathmandu Post | 8th May
The Nepal Army has written to the Chinese government to expedite the delivery of testing kits, RNA extraction kits, masks and personal protective equipment after delays in customs clearance.
The army, which was planning to send two chartered flights to Guangdong to ferry the cargo, couldn’t do so as Chinese customs authorities are yet to release the cargo due the May Day public holiday. Tests for Covid-19 have slowed down Nepal due to the lack of adequate testing and extraction kits.
Nationwide lockdown extended till May 18
The Himalayan Times | 6th May
The government today decided to extend the ongoing nationwide lockdown until May 18. Today’s Cabinet meeting also decided to extend the suspension of domestic and international flights till May 31.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yubaraj Khatiwada told mediapersons that the government also decided to keep all border entry points shut till May 31 to stem the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.



Imran announces gradual lifting of lockdown
Dawn | 8th May
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced lifting of the countrywide lockdown in phases from Saturday by reopening all construction-related industries and shopping centres for five days a week from Fajr [early morning] till 5pm and outpatient departments (OPDs) in hospitals.
The decision came on a day when Pakistan reported nearly 1,300 cases of Covid-19 and 48 deaths in 24 hours.
Kuwait pledges financial aid to Pakistan to improve health sector
The Nation | 8th May
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah has expressed his country's resolve to provide all out financial assistance to Pakistan to improve its health sector. He was talking to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi via video link on Thursday. The Kuwaiti Minister said his country needs assistance of Pakistan in the fields of food security and health. Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah gave a proposal to devise a strategic plan of five to ten years to promote cooperation between Pakistan and Kuwait in economic, defence and military sectors. Shah Mahmood Qureshi apprised his Kuwaiti counterpart on Prime Minister Imran Khan's calling of global debt relief to support economies of developing countries in the context of Corona pandemic.
SBP reserves rise $259m to $12.33b
The Express Tribune | 8th May
The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank increased 2.15% on a weekly basis, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
On April 30, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $12,329.4 million, up $259 million compared with $12,070.3 million in the previous week.
Sino-Pak military ties to witness greater development: Chinese MND Spokesperson
The Nation | 5th May
China firmly believes that its bilateral and military to military relations with Pakistan will embrace new and greater development through joint battle against COVID-19, a spokesperson of China Ministry of National Defense said.
“China and Pakistan are good friends, neighbors, partners, and brothers. Mutual help is a tradition between the two countries and the two militaries. As “iron brothers”, we can achieve great things with the same mind,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian said while commenting frequent interactions between the two countries and militaries since the COVID-19 outbreak to give each other support.



 US President offers to provide ventilators to Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 8th May
The United State President Donald Trump has offered to provide needed ventilators to Sri Lanka to support the island nation’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has conveyed President Trump’s offer, on behalf of the American people, to provide the ventilators to Sri Lanka to the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the phone.
ADB provides guarantee for USD 25 million trade loan to Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror | 7th May
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a guarantee for a $25 million trade loan to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC) to purchase medical supplies as part of the country’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The supplies, to be purchased by SPC with the loan, will include personal protective equipment such as N95 medical masks, surgical masks, as well as medicines to treat people who have tested positive to COVID-19.
U.S. commits $5.8 million in COVID-19 assistance to Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 6th May
The United States announced the commitment of more than $4.5 million to help Sri Lanka in its fight against COVID-19. This brings the total U.S. contribution to $5.8 million, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said in a statement today.
“This assistance continues the long tradition of U.S. support for Sri Lanka's security and sovereignty,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz. “Over the past 20 years, U.S. assistance in Sri Lanka has totaled more than $1 billion, including $26 million for health.”





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