24th March, 2023 | Volume - 9 - 02/03
IMF rejects claim of linking polls delay with fund’s conditions
The Express Tribune | 23rd March
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday rejected Pakistan’s claim that its programme conditions were one of the reasons for delaying polls in two provinces – Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – saying Islamabad has the right to reprioritise expenses or raise additional taxes to meet constitutional obligations.
“There is no requirement under Pakistan’s EFF supported programme which could interfere with Pakistan’s ability to undertake constitutional activities,” said Esther Perez Ruiz, the resident representative of the IMF.
Sri Lankan envoy discusses bilateral economic cooperation with Indian Finance Minister
Colombo Page | 22nd March
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda met with the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on 22 March 2023.
This was the latest of a series of meetings High Commissioner Moragoda has had with Minister Sitharaman since November 2021 on Indian economic cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka in the context of the present economic crisis.
At the outset, High Commissioner Moragoda thanked Minister Sitharaman for the leadership that the government of India took towards the realization of the International Monetary..
Unlawful denial of girls’ rights to education in Afghanistan impacting future of country: UN experts
The Khaama Press | 21st March
The ongoing unlawful denial of girls and women’s right to education in Afghanistan is impacting an entire generation and the country’s future, Said Richard Bennett, the UN special envoy for Afghanistan and other UN experts on Monday.
The statement was issued on 20 March 2023, two days before schools reopened across Afghanistan. The statement read that teenage girls will not be allowed to resume their studies for the second straight school year, making Afghanistan the only country in the world that bans girls and young women from attending secondary ..
Sri Lankan FM briefs South African counterpart on Sri Lanka’s reconciliation program
Colombo Page | 23rd March
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, who has undertaken a Study Visit to South Africa along with Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe met with South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor for bilateral discussions Wednesday in Pretoria.
Minister Ali Sabry is leading a fact-finding delegation to South Africa from 21 – 25 March 2023 to study South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and related processes that South Africa underwent in its quest towards a non-racist, non-sexist, democratic South Africa.
SL no longer deemed bankrupt: RW
Daily Mirror | 21st March
President Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement on the International Monetary Board’s approval for an extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), said that Sri Lanka will no longer be treated as a bankrupt country.
“The IMF has certified that Sri Lanka is capable of restructuring its debt. Sri Lanka will no longer be treated as a bankrupt country,” he said.
Normal economic activities can resume with this assurance, the President said. “As our foreign exchange situation improves, the restrictions placed on imports will be gradually lifted,” he said. The President noted that essential goods, medicines and goods related to the tourism industry will be included in the first round.
Sri Lanka will have best anti-corruption law in South Asia soon – President
The Island | 23rd March
President Ranil Wickremesinghe said during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat with the heads of media organization on Thursday (23), that necessary steps will be taken to pass the best anti-Corruption Act in South Asia in Parliament soon.
The President revealed that cabinet approval for the Bill has already been granted and said that he will discuss it with the Opposition representatives in the future and present it to the Parliament.
‘Intolerable’: PM Shehbaz strongly condemns ‘foreign-funded’ campaign against army, COAS abroad
Dawn | 20th March
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday strongly condemned the “vile campaign” against the Pakistan Army and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir abroad and called on overseas Pakistanis to raise their voices against it.
“The campaign against the army chief is intolerable and a continuation of the conspiracy against the institutions,” he said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Pakistan Navy’s second ship reaches Turkiye with 500 tons of aid for earthquake victims
The Nation | 23rd March
In a display of solidarity and humanitarian support, the Pakistan Navy‘s second ship arrived at the Turkish port of Mersin on Thursday carrying a large consignment of aid for the earthquake victims in Turkiye and Syria.
The PNS Auxiliary delivered about 500 tons of relief supplies including winter tents, blankets and other essential items.
Pakistan Day celebrated in UAE, China, US
The News | 23rd March
The Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi hosted an elegant flag-hoisting ceremony to celebrate the Pakistan day, which was attended by a large number of Pakistani community members residing in the UAE. The auspicious day was also marked in China and the United States.
During the ceremony, messages from the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out, and the students of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Arab Pakistan School presented national tableaus on national songs, Emirates news agency Wam reported.
Strong earthquake kills at least 13 in Afghanistan, Pakistan
Afghanistan Times | 22nd March
At least 13 people have been killed and hundreds injured after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit areas across Afghanistan and Pakistan, with tremors felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi.
In Afghanistan, at least four people were killed and 50 wounded, a health ministry official told the Reuters news agency.
The earthquake’s epicentre was 40km (25 miles) southeast of the Afghan town of Jurm, near the borders with Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Deputy PM Kabir Meets Potzel, Calls for Intl Recognition
TOLO News | 23rd March
Abdul Kabir, Deputy Prime Minister for Political Affairs, met with Markus Potzel, the deputy head of UNAMA, the Arg said on Twitter.
Kabir said the Islamic Emirate does not oppose girls’ education and he hoped that the international community will take considerable steps “for the Islamic Emirate’s recognition.”
The Arg said that Potzel thanked the Islamic Emirate for ensuring security of UN agencies in the country.
Dhaka calls for more financing
Bangladesh Post | 23rd March
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has called “enhanced international financing” for sustainable water management.
“To implement the water action agenda under Sustainable Development Goals, we call upon the development partners and international financial institutions to enhance the international financial support to the countries in need,” he said on Wednesday while speaking at the general debate of the UN 2023 Water Conference at the UN Headquarters.
Bangladesh importing LNG from USA
Prothom Alo | 23rd March
Bangladesh is importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) worth Tk 5.79 billion from the United States of America.
The cabinet committee on government purchase (CCGP) on Thursday approved a proposal for procuring one cargo of LNG (3.36 million MMBtu) to meet the growing demand. The CCGP approved the proposal of Petrobangla with finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the chair.
Dhaka air quality again unhealthy on Thursday morning
Dhaka Tribune | 23rd March
Dhaka’s air quality is in the unhealthy zone again on Thursday morning.
With an air quality index (AQI) score of 137 at 8:56am, Dhaka ranked eighth in the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality.
An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered unhealthy, particularly for sensitive groups.
Pakistan’s Lahore, India’s Delhi and Thailand’s Chiang Mai occupied the first three spots in the list, with AQI scores of 186, 180 and 164, respectively.
Court freezes Nu 2.4M crowdfunding
Kuensel | 24th March
Gelephu drungkhag court ordered freezing of Nu 2.43 million (M) in a suspected illegal online crowdfunding case involving Drungtsho Tshering Penjor and three other defendants.
The court convicted Drungtsho Tshering Penjor to three months and the other three parties to 45 days in prison depending on the degree of their involvement in the fraud.
According to the judgment passed on March 13, the three defendants—Aumber Bahadur Mongar, Chimi Dema, and Chungku Wangmo—were involved in collecting membership fees and other associated activities of the online foundation group.
Lack of consumption discipline in country’s healthcare system
Business Bhutan | 23rd March
Health minister says that though healthcare services are completely free, it’s time for people to acknowledge this and act responsibly
Bhutan’s health minister, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo has raised concerns over the country’s health care system, stating that while health care is free in the country, there is a need for people to be disciplined in using the services. The minister pointed out that free and quality health care does not go hand in hand, and at some point, the country will have to realize that a lot is being spent on health care services.
Nasheed’s MDP faction and Jumhooree Party discuss potential collaborations
The Edition | 23rd March
The Jumhooree Party (JP) and Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) President and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed’s faction of the party on Wednesday night decided to compile a manifesto on how the two groups can work together.
After a meeting held at the request of Nasheed at JP’s main party hub, “Kunooz” in Malé, JP’s Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim said that, during the hour-and-a-half-long meeting, the two groups discussed potential collaborations.
Over 118,000 tourists welcomed so far in March
Raajje | 23rd March
More than 118,000 tourists have been welcomed so far in March.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Tourism in its latest daily statistics, publicized on Tuesday.
Since the new year began, Maldives has welcomed a total of 468,751 visitors. This includes 172,499 tourists welcomed during January and 177,914 tourists welcomed in the following month.
Russian Legal Chief Meets Myanmar Junta Chief
The Irrawaddy | 23rd March
A Russian legal delegation led by Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov visited Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw on Wednesday.
It is the first visit by a Russian legal delegation to Myanmar following military, economic and academic visits since the 2021 coup.
Krasnov is a member of Russia’s Security Council and has been sanctioned by the US, Canada, the EU, Japan and the UK for Russia’s war against Ukraine and atrocities against Ukrainian citizens. He was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2020.
NUG requests cooperation from Thai oil and gas company, warns of potential legal action
Myanmar Now | 22nd March
The publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG) has requested financial data and a redirection of payments from the Thai company operating Myanmar’s largest natural gas production venture, and may sue if the demand goes unanswered, the NUG claimed on Monday.
PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP)—a subsidiary of the Thai state-owned PTT Public Company Limited, formerly the Petroleum Authority of Thailand—is partnered with the Myanmar military-controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in a joint venture operating in the Yadana gas fields in the Andaman Sea.
Government, private sector should work together to tackle climate change: Experts
The Kathmandu Post | 23rd March
Experts have suggested the government and the private sector should work hand in hand to tackle the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Climate Change: Impacts and the Global Response,’ organised by lawmaker Arzu Rana Deuba’s secretariat in Kathmandu on Thursday, experts said the time is ripe to be alert for the prevention of environmental impacts of climate change that have started to be seen rapidly in Nepal.
Hard for PM Dahal to work out win-win deal
The Himalayan Times | 24th March
Four partners of the ruling alliance – CPN-Maoist Centre, Nepali Congress, CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal – today discussed Cabinet portfolio distribution, but failed to reach a conclusion. Yesterday, all the top leaders of the 10-party ruling alliance had discussed the division of ministries. Nepali Congress Vice-president Purna Bahadur Khadka told THT that the four parties discussed Cabinet portfolio division but they needed to hold more talks to reach a deal. Asked when the PM would expand his Cabinet, Khadka said the issue was for the PM to decide.
Nabil Bank partners with USAID to increase small enterprises’ access to financial services
Onlinekhabar | 24th March
Nabil Bank has signed a letter of cooperation with the USAID Trade and Competitiveness Activity with the common goal to increase the availability of finance and access to financial products and services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
With this cooperation, both parties have agreed to work to boost tourism, agriculture and digital services.
The agreement was signed by Gyanendra Prasad Dhungana, the CEO of Nabil Bank, and Agnes Luz, the chief of USAID Trade and Competitiveness Activity.