31st March, 2023 | Volume - 9 - 02/03
Human Rights Violations Increased Exponentially in Afghanistan: Amnesty Intl
The Khaama Press | 30th March
Amnesty International expressed concerns in its annual report about restrictions on women’s rights, media freedom and freedom of expression in Afghanistan.
“Restrictions on women’s rights, freedom of the media and freedom of expression increased exponentially,” the report said. “Institutions designed to support human rights were severely limited or shut down completely. Peaceful protesters faced arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearance,” the report highlighted.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner discusses bilateral economic cooperation with India Reserve Bank Governor
Colombo Page | 30th March
Continuing his engagement with key officials of the Indian Government, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India Milinda Moragoda met with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday at the Bank’s Headquarters in Mumbai.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner, who is on an official visit to the State of Maharashtra, has discussed a range of issues pertaining to the bilateral economic cooperation with the RBI Governor.
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.
Belarus’ Industry Ministry seeks to build cooperation with Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 31st March
The Industry Ministry of Belarus would like to build cooperation with Sri Lanka across a wide range of areas, Belarus’ Deputy Industry Minister Aleksandr Yefimov said as he met with Minister of Transport and Highways and Minister of Mass Media of Sri Lanka Bandula Gunawardena, BelTA reported according to an Industry Ministry press report.
The talks were attended by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to Russia with concurrent accreditation to Belarus Janitha Abeywickrama Liyanage, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka to Belarus Dmitry Ruzanov and top managers of Belarusian industry giants.
Japanese envoy in Colombo says no decision on reviving LRT project yet
Daily Mirror | 30th March
Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hideaki Mizukoshi yesterday said a decision has not yet been made on reviving the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded US $ 2.2 billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, stretching from Colombo Fort to Malabe, which was abruptly terminated by the previous government.
“No decision has yet been made. But it all depends on how the reforms of the Sri Lankan government go and whether Sri Lanka can regain the trust from the Japanese government and business community,” Mizukoshi told a breakfast forum organised by the Ceylon Motor Traders Association in Colombo, yesterday.
As country’s economic woes deepened Kohila consumption jumped by 45 percent
The Island | 31st March
A new study conducted by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agricultural Training and Research Institute has revealed the devastating impact of the economic crisis on the food consumption patterns of Sri Lankan citizens.
According to the report, the domestic demand for Kohila surged by 45 percent during the 2021-2022 period, as citizens were forced to manage with whatever vegetables they could find. In stark contrast, consumption of beans, carrots, pumpkin, brinjal, and leafy vegetables plummeted by 30 percent.
Covid-19 pandemic responsible for economic woes: Bilawal
Dawn | 31st March
Foreign minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that people were facing the devastating impact of a climate catastrophe such as floods, in the occurrence of which they played little to no role at all and the younger generation especially, was facing consequences of decisions that they did not make.
Speaking at an Iftar dinner hosted by him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Islamabad-based Diplomatic Corps, he said that the month of Ramazan encourages people to feel for the less fortunate, less privileged and those who did not enjoy access to regular food and luxuries that were usually taken for granted.
Pakistan’s absence from summit does not affect willingness to work together: US
The Express Tribune | 31st March
US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel on Thursday said that Pakistan’s absence from the second ‘Summit for Democracy’, hosted by US President Joe Biden this week, does not change Washington’s willingness to continue working with Islamabad.
At a press briefing, Patel expressed regret over Pakistan’s decision not to participate in the democracy summit. However, he noted that Pakistan is “a sovereign state” and “can make decisions for itself”.
Pakistan a crucial player for stability in region, says German diplomat
The Nation | 31st March
Erik Kurzweil has completed his first trip to Pakistan as German Special Representative for South Asia, where he visited Lahore and Islamabad from March 26 to March 29. During his visit, Mr Kurzweil held talks with Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan on bilateral and regional issues, said an official statement issued by German embassy in Islamabad. “Pakistan is not only an important partner for Germany with a long-standing, multi-faceted relationship, but also a crucial player for stability in the region.
UN Security Council condemns increasing terrorist attacks against civilians in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Times | 29th March
The members of the United Nations Security Council in a joint statement condemned recent suicide attack in Kabul, and reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security in Afghanistan, and the world.
The council members underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable, and bring them to justice.
Amid Poor Economy, Kabul Residents Turn to Carpet Weaving
TOLO News | 30th March
Due to the country’s high unemployment rate, some Kabul residents have turned to carpet weaving in recent months.
They said that they need to find a means of support in order to survive.
Kabul resident Mustafa has been working with his young child to weave carpets for several months.
“The business has dropped. It is not dropped actually, it no longer exists. I used work on carpet weaving, so I thought to start it again during Ramadan to earn some money,” Mustafa said.
PM for enhancing Bangladesh-Vietnam economic cooperation
Bangladesh Post | 30th March
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday laid emphasis on strengthening the economic cooperation between Bangladesh and Vietnam for the mutual benefit of the both countries as the outgoing Ambassador of Vietnam in Dhaka Pham Viet Chien called on her at Ganabhaban in Dhaka.
Briefing reporters after the call on, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said that during the meeting they discussed about the friendly relations between the two countries.
Bangladesh urges EU to extend transition period to six years
Prothom Alo | 31st March
Bangladesh has called on the European Union (EU) to extend the transition period of GSP (EBA) from three years to six years for ensuring smoother graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status, reports news agency UNB.
A delegation from Bangladesh led by prime minister’s principal secretary Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah called on Maximilian Krah, member of the EU, in Brussels on Thursday.
Bhutan observes International Zero Waste Day with mass cleaning
Kuensel | 31st March
The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) organised a mass cleaning campaign to observe the International Day of Zero Waste yesterday.
The department partnered with various organisations like the de-suung office, Bhutan Red Cross Society, Guide Association of Bhutan, Taxi Association of Bhutan, Thimphu Thromde, Thimphu Dzongkhag Administration, and Department of Tourism to mark the first official International Zero Waste Day.
Businesses await government decision on possible moratorium and definition of non-essentials
Business Bhutan | 27th March
As the government deliberates on whether to impose a moratorium on non-essential items, businesses in Bhutan are waiting for a clear directive from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to adjust their business operations accordingly. From the moratorium that the government could issue on selected non-essential goods to the definition of non-essentials, importers from Third countries especially are the ones in the dark.
Furniture and electronics retailers are especially cautious, holding off on placing orders and making payments to import goods, with the apprehension that a moratorium if issued for the import of non essentials would block their capital.
ADB signs USD 41 Million finance package with BML to support SMEs and tourism
The Edition | 29th March
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday signed a USD 41 million finance package with the Bank of Maldives (BML) to support locally owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and tourism companies in the Maldives.
ADB arranged, structured, and syndicated the financing package, which comprised a loan of up to USD 13 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources, a parallel loan of up to USD 13 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and a parallel loan of up to USD 5 million from the Development Bank of Austria.
Maldives records half a million tourists in under 3 months
Sun | 28th March
Maldives has recorded over half a million tourist arrivals within the first three months of this year.
Statistics released by Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom shows 500,597 tourists have visited Maldives as of last Sunday, March 26. The figure is significantly higher than the 409,426 tourist arrivals recorded during the same period last year.
Maumoom commented that Maldives is well on track for the 2023 arrivals target – which is 1.8 million tourists.
Maldives observes surge in covid-19 caseload
Raajje | 27th March
Maldives has observed a surge in the weekly Covid-19 numbers reported across the country.
This was revealed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in its latest figures publicized on Monday.
As such, over the past week, Maldives confirmed 16 new Covid-19 infections, out of which 12 cases were confirmed from the Greater Malé Region and the remaining four were detected from others including industrial islands, liveaboard vessels and resorts.
Myanmar Junta Preventing Medicine Reaching Sick Children in Sagaing
The Irrawaddy | 31st March
School-age children, many of them displaced, in Sagaing Region’s Kani Township are suffering from skin infections and have no access to medicine or medical treatment, according to local sources.
The lesions, thought to be caused by contaminated water and poor hygiene, are being found in youngsters aged 5 to 15 years, both displaced and attending community-based schools. Many of the children are also suffering from fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Beyond the Headlines: Myanmar junta chief marks Armed Forces Day with vow to crush resistance
Myanmar Now | 28th March
Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing marked Armed Forces Day on March 27 with a speech vowing to take decisive action against groups seeking the ouster of his regime.
Speaking against the backdrop of a display of military might in the junta’s capital, Naypyitaw, the senior general accused the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and its armed wing, the People’s Defence Forces (PDF), as well as their ethnic allies, of committing acts of “terrorism” as part of a “conspiracy for the devastation of the country.”
Nepal-China Coordination Mechanism on Border Trade and Cooperation held
The Himalayan Times | 30th March
The first meeting of the Nepal-China Coordination Mechanism on Border Trade and Cooperation was held today in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Nepal, Madhu Kumar Marasini and Executive Vice-chairman of the People’s Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, Chen Yongqi.
Uncertain world order dominates Boao discourse
Kathmandu Post | 31st March
Growing tensions in international affairs took the centre stage at the annual BOAO Forum for Asia (BFA) conference in Hainan province of China. The rising confrontation between China and the United States and its potential effects on world politics took precedence at the BFA, which is otherwise designed to discuss Asia’s economic issues.
During the conference scheduled for March 28-31, topics ranging from climate change to digital economy and the future of clean energy are being discussed, as well as their possible impact on world politics.
Govt hopes to complete Kathmandu-Raxaul railway DPR in a month
Onlinekhabar | 27th March
The government says it hopes to complete the detailed project report of the ambitious Kathmandu-Raxaul railway in a month.
Speaking at a press meet at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the Indian government has communicated that the report would be ready by the end of April.
The government is taking the Indian government’s assistance in developing a detailed plan for the project as well as hoping for support in its implementation.