Colombo Page | 2nd October
Sri Lanka’s major creditors such as Japan, India and France are likely to reach a broad agreement this month on debt reduction steps including extending repayments, Japan’s Sankei newspaper reported on Monday.
Sri Lanka has held multiple rounds of talks with bondholders and bilateral creditors including Japan, China and India on reworking its foreign debt after suspending repayments in May last year.
The News | 2nd October
The caretaker government on Monday announced its decision to deport 1.1 million illegal foreigners living in Pakistan.
As per details, the eviction of “aliens” will be carried out in three phases with illegal residents being expelled from the country in the first phase.
Meanwhile, the second and third phases will see the deportation of those
possessing Afghan citizenship and proof of residence cards respectively.
Afghanistan Times | 30th September
The Afghan embassy in India, led by an appointee of the pre-Taliban Ashraf Ghani government, has decided to cease its operations permanently. This decision comes as a result of financial constraints and a
lack of support from the Indian government.
The embassy reportedly communicated this decision to India’s external affairs ministry earlier this week, as revealed in a note verbale (NV) circulating online.
Dawn | 2nd October
Pakistan was the top borrower of the International Development Association (IDA) in fiscal year 2023, securing $2.3 billion in funding, the World Bank said in its annual report.
The bank helped Pakistan respond to devastating floods with nearly $1.7bn for five projects in the worst-affected Sindh province to build resilient housing, restore crop production, provide health services for mothers and children, and strengthen social protection and the local government’s disaster response capacity.
The Express Tribune | 3rd October
A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive in Pakistan in the last week of October to review the country’s economic performance in the first three months of the current fiscal year.
According to sources from the Ministry of Finance, discussions will also take place between the caretaker government and the mission regarding reforms in various sectors, including taxes and energy.
They said once the economic review is successfully completed, Pakistan will receive the next installment of $700 million from the IMF after its board’s approval.
The Nation | 3rd October
State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said that Pakistan has suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks.
The State Department spokesperson expressed his deepest sympathies for those killed and injured in Hangu and Mastung attacks.
He said that “people of Pakistan have suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks. They deserve to practice their faith without fear.”
The spokesperson offered his condolences to families who lost loved ones and a speedy recovery to those who were injured in the attack.
Daily Mirror | 3rd October
Sri Lanka reached the 100,000 tourist arrival mark in September, marking the eighth month of 2023 this milestone was achieved.
However, with the arrivals totalling 111,938, the island nation managed to realise only 93 percent of the target set for the month of September.
As per the targets set by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the aim was to draw at least 120,201 international visitors in September.
Another key significant milestone realised in September was crossing the one million tourist arrival mark.
The Island | 1st October
The West has labeled China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a cohesive program, and the participating countries like Sri Lanka are looked upon with suspicion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday (28) at the Berlin Global Conference.
“This will further hurt economic prospects in the global South, and the polarization will become more evident,” he said.
Great power rivalries and geopolitics have been an emerging threat for open access to trade, investment, capital, and technology that are vital for the economic recovery of the developing world, Wickremesinghe said.
The Khaama Press | 2nd October
The World Food Program reports that over one million mothers and children in Afghanistan have been deprived of food assistance due to severe budget constraints.
On Monday, this organization warned that the situation for women in Afghanistan will worsen without immediate funding.
The World Food Program, in a previous tweet on their official Twitter page, stated that currently, women in Afghanistan bear the brunt of reductions in aid.
TOLO News | 3rd October
Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi led a delegation to China to attend the Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation based on an official invitation from Beijing.
The deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Zia Ahmad Takal, said on X that Muttaqi will also hold bilateral talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister and representatives of other countries in addition to participating in the meeting.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that participants will discuss economic, regional and climate issues in the meeting on the 4th and 5th of October.
Prothom Alo | 4th October
The US reiterated the importance of a free and fair election in Bangladesh and fostering the bilateral relationship between both the countries.
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan emphasised the issues while paying a courtesy call to prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Washington on 27 September.
National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby confirmed the media about the meeting at a press conference at the White House in Washington on Tuesday afternoon (Washington time).
Bangladesh Post | 3rd October
Bangladesh has made a strong economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and progressed in reducing poverty, says the World Bank in its twice-year-update.
The latest Bangladesh Development Update titled ‘New Frontiers in Poverty Reduction’ was released by the World Bank on Tuesday at its Dhaka office in the capital.
The World Bank said reforms to address inflation, through monetary and fiscal policies, as well as financial sector vulnerabilities will be critical for the country to sustain growth and poverty reduction.
Dhaka Tribune | 3rd October
Thirteen more deaths were reported from dengue in 24 hours till Tuesday morning, raising the fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease in Bangladesh to 1,030 this year.
During the period, 2,799 more patients were hospitalized with the viral fever, according to the DGHS.
Of the new patients, 682 were admitted to hospitals in Dhaka and the rest outside the capital–indicating a worsening situation across the country, DGHS said.
Kuensel | 3rd October
The government is exploring measures to reduce airfare as part of its efforts to boost tourism.
The National Assembly house discussed improving the incentive packages and other viable strategies to attract more tourists, considering the tourism industry’s ability to contribute enormously to the national exchequer.
Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said that the government is exploring the possibility of lowering airfare to attract more tourists and is in consultation with the airline companies.
Business Bhutan | 28th September
Even as Bhutan witnesses a dip of 10.3 % in hydropower generation, between January and June 2023, compared to the same period last year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that greater hydropower generation in 2023 and 2024 will sustain growth. The Bank in a recent report says that growth in the construction industry, although substantial, is expected to decelerate, but projects such as the 1,020 megawatt Puna-2 hydropower plant and the smaller Nikachhu plant are near completion and that in 2024, the commissioning of these power plants will spur a 5.4% expansion in industrial growth. The Bank has also pointed out that a widening fiscal deficit and declining foreign exchange reserves will remain key concerns for the government.
Raajje | 2nd October
India will be the nearest and dearest neighbor of Maldives and President-elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s first foreign trip is expected to be to India, says the Vice President of People’s National Congress (PNC)’s Vice President, Mohamed Hussain Shareef (Mundhu).
Mundhu said this in an interview to an Indian media outlet.
In his phone interview, Mundhu stated that the new elected government would absolutely like to continue the tradition, where the first foreign trip by a new Maldives president is to neighboring India.
The Edition | 4th October
World Bank forecasts Maldives’ national debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ration to increase by 115 percent.
The bank said that though Maldives economy was expected to grow by 8.2 percent in 2023, the actual economic growth will cap at 6.5 percent in the current year.
The Ministry of Finance however, projects a 9.4 percent increase.
Statistics from the ministry indicate that the state’s debt stands at MVR 108 billion. According to the World Bank, this figure could rise if the debt-to-GDP ratio increases.
Sun | 4th October
Maldivian President-elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu met with the British High Commissioner Caron Röhsler on Thursday, in his first meeting with a foreign diplomat upon being elected to office.
The meeting took place at Muizzu’s residence in Male’ City, Dhimyath, at around 08:55 am Thursday.
The meeting was also attended by Vice President-elect Hussain Mohamed Latheef (Sembe).
Muizzu had previously stated that several foreign diplomats had requested meetings with him during the ongoing transition period. He said that he would hold meetings in accordance with the law.
The Irrawaddy | 2nd October
Myanmar’s cash-starved military regime is again preying on householders and businesses in a desperate bid to prop up its coffers.
In its latest moves, the regime has increased utility bills while announcing that license fees for jade and gems dealers will be hiked sixfold next year.
The state-owned Myanmar Gems Enterprise issued a notice on September 15 saying that license fees for buying and selling finished jewelry will be increased from 50,000 kyats to 300,000 kyats (nearly US$ 90), from 30,000 kyats to 200,000 kyats for jade cutting, and from 30,000 kyats to 150,000 kyats for buying and selling raw gems.
Myanmar Now | 3rd October
The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) criticised the United Nations (UN) for “failing” the people of Myanmar through its dealings with the military regime in a report released on Tuesday.
The group of independent international experts outlined how the UN Country Team (UNCT)—the officials representing the UN Secretariat and all UN agencies operating in Myanmar—prioritises ”appeasing” the junta in order to maintain a presence in the country rather than finding ways to deliver aid directly to people “in line with their needs and their democratic will and aspirations.”
The Himalayan Times | 1st October
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that his official visit to China has further strengthened the climate of mutual confidence between the two countries.
He informed today’s House of Representatives meeting about his participation in the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the official visit to China, asserting that the visit to China has played a key role in further strengthening the historical relations between the two countries.
The Kathmandu Post | 3rd October
An Australian parliamentary delegation led by Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives Milton Dick is on a three-day official visit to Nepal starting Tuesday.
This is the first ever Australian Parliamentary Delegation visit to Nepal in over six decades of diplomatic ties with Nepal, signaling the flourishing bilateral relationship.
According to a statement issued by the Australian Embassy, other members of the delegation include Libby Coker, Joanne Ryan, Senator Dean Smith, and Senator Ralph Babet.
Onelinekhabar | 4th October
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact was seen to be a game changer in Nepal. However, lately, there seem to be many flaws in the basic design and environmental impact study report of the transmission line project.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Nepal has granted approval and revised the reports for the construction study of the transmission line, lacking a robust economic cost analysis. The projected cost is now estimated to be 66 per cent higher than the initial anticipation, leading to the need for approval and subsequent revisions.