24 Million Afghans Need Humanitarian Aid: SIGAR
TOLO News | 6th May
Since the takeover of the Islamic Emirate in August 2021, “humanitarian conditions have deteriorated with over 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan—an increase from 18.4 million in 2021,” said a report of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in a report to the US congress said that 70 percent of the Afghans are unable to provide their basic needs.
This comes as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said that 53 world countries including Afghanistan face acute hunger.

Another fuel shipment of 40,000 metric tons of petrol from India reaches Colombo
Colombo Page | 4th May
Another shipment of 40,000 metric tons of petrol supplied by India has now reached Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a Twitter message.
With this stock of fuel, India has supplied about 440,000 metric tons of various types of fuel to Sri Lanka, and more shipments will follow, according to the Twitter message.
“Delivering on India's commitment to the people of Sri Lanka, close to 40,000 MT of petrol reached Colombo today. With this Sri Lanka has received around 440,000 MT of various types of fuel from India More to follow!!!” it said.

Nepal and US sign $659 million development assistance agreement
The Kathmandu Post | 5th May
The grant [equivalent to Rs79.71 billion] for the next five-year period will support Nepal’s goal of graduating to a middle-income country. Nepal plans to graduate from the Least Developed Country category by December 2026.
This assistance agreement, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), outlines the broad development areas of the US and Nepal’s cooperation and collaboration, according to a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry.

 

SRI LANKA

‘Save Sri Lanka’ launches online petition against govt. demanding int’l intervention
The Island | 5th May
An online petition, initiated by ‘Save Sri Lanka,’ to be forwarded to the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, attributes Sri Lanka’s present plight to bad economic decision making, poor fiscal planning and management as well as rampant corruption by politicians and government officials.
As stated in the petition, for the first time in its history, Sri Lanka has failed to honour debt repayment and declared bankruptcy.

Sri Lanka tea exports lowest in 23 years
Daily Mirror | 5th May
Crisis-struck Sri Lanka’s vital tea exports have dropped to their lowest level in 23 years, official figures showed yesterday, hit by a fertiliser ban and the war in Ukraine.
Tea is the island nation’s biggest export commodity, bringing in about US $ 1.3 billion annually before the current economic downturn, the worst since independence in 1948.
 

PAKISTAN

KP, Sindh, Balochistan ‘reeling from food insecurity’
Dawn | 6th May
Multiple shocks, including high food and fuel prices, drought, livestock diseases and widespread loss of income-generating opportunities due to the impact of Covid-19 drove high levels of food insecurity across Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces, says a global report issued on Wednesday.
The ‘Global Report on Food Crises’ released by the Global Network Against Food Crises, an alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, government and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together, stated that drought conditions in Balochistan and Sindh and inadequate monsoon rainfall in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had reduced crop and livestock production and contributed to rising national food prices.

Pakistan urges Saudi Arabia not to withdraw deposits given to SBP
The Express Tribune | 4th May
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the government has requested Saudi Arabia not to withdraw its deposits given to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and extend its oil facility for Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi on Wednesday, he lamented former prime minister Imran Khan's government for making promises to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which were "against the interests of the nation". "Those promises are no less than landmines," he added.

PM, Saudi Crown Prince reaffirm desire to broaden ties
The News | 4th May
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a telephone call to Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, where both leaders  reaffirmed the desire to broaden ties.
Sharif conveyed his warm wishes along with Eid greetings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
During the call, they confirmed plans to closely work together to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.
 

AFGHANISTAN

Uzbekistan to Cooperate With the Taliban But Recognize Them Only in Concert With the International Community
The Khaama Press | 6th May
Uzbekistan considers the Taliban as “a reality that must be accepted,” but stresses that it will not recognize them alone. In an event if the recognition happens, Uzbekistan wants a “collective voice and stand”, said Ismatullah Irgashev, the special envoy to the Uzbek President Mirziyoyev.
While in an interview in Tashkent, he stated that his country is “working closely” with the Taliban as Uzbekistan has “long established solid contracts” with Afghanistan.

Aid Delivery to Afghans Was Ineffective Under the Taliban, a Report Suggests
The Khaama Press | 5th May
Under the Taliban government, aid delivery to the Afghan people has been ineffective, with health and education initiatives in disarray.
According to the latest report by the Europe Asia Foundation (EAF) titled “Can ‘Softly-Softly’ Address the Afghan Crisis?” (April 2022), the world’s aid is not distributed efficiently by the Taliban, and war-torn Afghanistan is facing a funding shortage after donor nations imposed sanctions after the Taliban took control of the country.
 

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh provides medical assistance to Sri Lanka
Prothom Alo | 5th May
Noting that every country is facing challenges of its own in varied degrees, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said mutual collaboration is much more essential than ever before in this trying time.
The dual impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, its resultant supply-chain disruption and the war between Russia and Ukraine have distorted the global economy, he said.

Dhaka’s air quality improves
Bangladesh Post | 5th May
Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka saw a marked improvement in air quality on Thursday.
With an air quality index (AQI) score of 75 at 8.52am, the metropolis ranked 26th in the list of world cities with the worst air quality. Dhaka's AQI was categorised as ‘moderate’.
Russia’s Krasnoyarsk, India’s Delhi and China’s Chengdu occupied the first three spots in the list, with AQI scores of 182, 168 and 160, respectively.

Momen-Jaishankar next meeting likely to be held in Assam late May
Dhaka Tribune | 4th May
The bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Bangladesh and India is likely to be held in Guwahati, the capital of Assam, later this month.
India’s proposal to hold the meeting in Guwahati, the capital of Assam, is accepted by Bangladesh initially, according to sources.
As a result, if all goes well, the bilateral meeting will be held in Guwahati from May 26 to 29. An official announcement in this regard will come soon.
 

BHUTAN

Covid-19 cases declining
Kuensel | 6th May
Although many people were worried that Covid-19 cases would surge after schools reopened, the number of positive cases remained low or continued to decline.
Going by the official record, the number of positive cases was higher in the first week of April and it continued into the second week.
There were 2,291 on April 6, which was recorded as the one-day highest positive cases. On April 12, there were 2,200 positive cases and 2,131 on April 13.

Total public debt increased by 3.3% in March-end
Business Bhutan | 5th May
The total public debt increased by Nu 7.88bn in the three months period from January to March-end this year.
The total public debt stood at Nu 247.68bn as of March this year from the total public debt of Nu 239.79bn at December end of last year.
However, the total public debt stock increased by 3.3% and the total public debt accounted for 130.9% of the FY 2021-22 Gross Domestic Product estimate.
 

MALDIVES

Russia-Ukraine war hits Q1 tourism revenue, bookings
Sun | 5th May
The quarterly business survey report for Q1 2022 released by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) shows the revenue and bookings of resorts and hotels in Maldives took a significant hit due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. 
The business survey for Q1 2022 was conducted from March 24-April 12. 45 out of 64 tourism businesses responded to the questions. 
The businesses that took part in the survey said they expect 20 percent of total bookings in 2022 to be Russian tourists. 

AirAsia resumes direct flights to Maldives
The Edition | 4th May
AirAsia, the Malaysian multinational low-cost airline recommences their direct flight operations to the Maldives.
Earlier, it was announced by the airline on resuming its flights from India to Malaysia and Thailand, with flights currently available from April and May 2022 onward.
Apart from relaunching its operations to the Maldives, the airline had confirmed on five new routes between India to Thailand which include Bengaluru to Bangkok, starting on 04th May, Chennai to Bangkok, starting on the same day, while Kolkata to Bangkok commenced on Monday, 02nd May and Jaipur to Bangkok commenced on 01st May.


MYANMAR

Myanmar Junta Burn Over 1,300 Houses in Four Days in Northwest
The Irrawaddy | 5th May
More than 1,300 houses were razed by Myanmar junta arson attacks in villages in Ayadaw, Shwebo and Khin-U townships in Sagaing Region from April 29 to May 2, with thousands fleeing from their homes.
One village in Ayadaw and Khin-U and two villages in Shwebo were torched by junta soldiers and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias, who reportedly shelled the villages before setting the houses on fire.

Myanmar’s Civilian Government Passes Police Law for its Controlled
The Irrawaddy | 5th May
The legislative body of Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) has enacted its People’s Police Force Law to regulate law enforcement in areas controlled by resistance forces.
The legislative body, known as the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), represents National League for Democracy parliamentarians ousted in the 2021 coup. Pyidaungsu Hluttaw means Union Parliament.

 

NEPAL

Countries renew commitment to eliminate malaria by 2030
The Himalayan Times | 5th May
The World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region today renewed its commitment to eliminate malaria by 2030, with the countries, including Nepal, pledging accelerated action and greater efforts at the sub-national and community levels.
Addressing a virtual seminar on 'Malaria High Burden to High Impact,' Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, "We need support of all the leaders, policy makers, development partners, donors, private sector, non-governmental organisations, civil society, and public to actively support our commitments to accelerate progress in malaria-free region."

The Russian invasion of Ukraine affects Nepal’s exports to Europe, the Americas
Onelinekhabar | 6th May
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected Nepal’s exports to Europe and the Americas, complain the traders.
It has already been two months since the orders from European and Asian countries have been affected as they have been hit hard by the war, informs Durga Bikram Thapa, a vice-president of the Federation of Export Entrepreneurs Nepal.
 

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