Afghanistan health system on brink of collapse
Afghanistan Times | 25th January
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that fundamental and life-saving primary health care services in Afghanistan are under severe threat. It is, therefore, making an urgent appeal to international donors to rapidly finance the Sehatmandi programme, as they have done for almost two decades. The programme is the backbone of Afghanistan’s health system, providing care for millions of people through 2 331 health facilities.

Bangladesh to work with India for prosperous region
Bangladesh Post | 26th January
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh looks forward to working together with India in the next 50 years and  beyond towards realizing the shared vision of building a peaceful and prosperous region.
"The year-2021 was a historic one for the Bangladesh-India relationship, marked by celebrations of epochal events and engagements at the highest levels," she said in a message to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the occasion of the Republic Day of India.

FM Qureshi briefed on Chinese assistance for PAF’s modernisation project
Dawn | 28th January
The Pakistan Air Force briefed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the Chinese assistance for its modernisation project during his visit to PAF headquarters.
The briefing took place ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s trip to China from Feb 3 to 5 during which the two sides are expected to review the entire gamut of ties and bilateral cooperation in various sectors, including defence.


ADB approves $405 million to address Afghanistan’s crisis
The Khaama Press | 25th January
The Asian Development Bank said that they have approved $405 million in grants to support food security and help sustain health and education services for the people of Afghanistan.
The ADB plans to provide direct financing to four United Nations organizations that have presence and logistics in Afghanistan and the support will be implemented through the UN agencies and their non-governmental partners.

3.5 million Doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Afghanistan since Taliban takeover
The Khaama Press | 25th January
Ministry of Public Health of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan announced that they have administered 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the Taliban regained power.
The Ministry said that they still have 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at their disposal and that 5 million more have been pledged to arrive in Afghanistan.
Spokesperson of the Ministry Javed Hazheer said that they are distributing the vaccines in schools, universities, government administrations, mosques, and other places apart from health clinics across Afghanistan.


Bangladesh on track to reach global Covid vaccine targets
Dhaka Tribune | 27th January
Bangladesh is well on track to reach the global Covid-19 vaccination targets, having vaccinated at least 95,895,302 people with the first dose. 
Bangladesh’s vaccination situation changed in just four months, as it made it to the list of countries meeting the vaccination targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 
According to the Strategy to Achieve Global Covid-19 Vaccination by mid-2022, the WHO targets vaccinating 70% of the population of all countries by the middle of 2022. 

Bangladesh reports 15 more Covid deaths, 15,807 cases in 24 hrs
Prothom Alo | 27th January
Bangladesh reports 15 more Covid deaths, 15,807 new cases in 24 hrs, according to the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).
The health directorate also reports that a total of 49,579 samples were examined in the last 24 hours. The rate of detection has increased a bit.
The detection rate is 31.98 per cent against the test on Thursday while the rate was 31.64 on Wednesday. Of the 17 deaths, ten are women and five men.


More Bhutanese increasingly test positive
Kuensel | 28th January
Since the lockdown began on January 16, new Covid-19 cases from the community have been reported in 12 dzongkhags and the virus is spreading to more dzongkhags, Sowai Lyonpo (health minister) Dechen Wangmo said on national television yesterday.
Of 136 new cases declared yesterday, 15 were from the community: two from Gelephu in Sarpang, five in Thimphu, six from Phuentsholing in Chhukha and two from Samdrupjongkhar. Of the total, 134 were Bhutanese.

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan
Daily Bhutan | 25th January
Bhutan is a tireless advocate against climate change. Pristine forest sprawls across the tiny Himalayan nation, compliant with their constitution that dictates “a minimum of 60% of Bhutan’s total land shall be maintained under forest cover at all times”.
Every year, the country generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide is trapped within the atmosphere, it becomes a greenhouse gas, leading to climate change. 


State of Health Emergency extended till end of February
Sun | 27th January
A further extension of the State of Public Health Emergency declared in the Maldives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has been announced today.
A declaration signed by Health Minister Ahmed Naseem which was publicized today read that it has been decided that the State of Public Health Emergency will be extended until February 28.
The declaration further detailed that the extension was a precautionary measure taken under the advice of Health Protection Agency's (HPA) Director-General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru, as the risk of a large scale community spread is still imminent.

Maldives-Malaysia sign MoU to strengthen public sector auditing
Sun | 27th January

aldivian Auditor General’s Office and Malaysia’s National Audit Department on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen public sector auditing.
The agreement signing ceremony was held virtually. In the ceremony, the Auditor General of Maldives Hussain Niyazy and the Auditor General of Malaysia Datuk Nik Azman Abdul Majid signed on behalf of their respective countries.
According to AG Office, under this agreement, both institutions will work together to strengthen public sector governance and public sector auditing.


Major Australian Energy Firm Woodside Announces Myanmar Pullout
The Irrawaddy | 27th January
Australian energy firm Woodside announced its withdrawal from junta-run Myanmar on Thursday, the latest company to head for the exit following a military coup last year.
“Woodside has decided to withdraw from its interests in Myanmar,” the company said in a statement to shareholders after nine years of operating in the country.
The Perth-based petroleum giant cited “the deteriorating human rights situation” as part of the reason for the move, which will cost the company at least US$200 million.

Chinese Firms Stalling on Myanmar Solar Power Projects
The Irrawaddy | 25th January
Myanmar’s military regime is not pushing enough or not pushing at all the Chinese firms who are contracted to start solar power production, despite the fact that they are several months behind schedule, said critics. 
In May 2020, the now-ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government invited bids for the construction of 29 ground-mounted solar projects capable of generating a total of 1 gigawatt of power under a 20-year build, operate and own contract. 


Govt scraps agreement with Batas Group
The Himalayan Times | 26th January
The government has terminated a contract with the private vendor Batas Group related to the operation of Nepal-India Friendship Pashupati Dharmashala, a pilgrimage rest house located at Tilganga, in Kathmandu.
The contract was made defunct by the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale himself following reports of foul play on the part of vendor who was authorised to operate the Dharmashala.

Nepal’s population is 29,192,480
The Kathmandu Post | 27th January
Nepal’s population has reached 29,192,480, with a 10.18 percent rise in the last 10 years, the Central Bureau of Statistics said.
The total also includes the population of the Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura areas worked out for the first time in 60 years through informal census, according to the bureau.
As per the bureau, there are around 750 people in the region.


Pakistan reports highest number of COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours
The Nation | 28th January
Pakistan has registered 8,183 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day rise since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), a total of 68,624 samples were tested, out of which 8,183 turned out to be positive at the positivity rate of 11.92 per cent.
With the emergence of fresh cases, the countrywide tally of cases has jumped to 1,402,070. 

PM Imran reaffirms commitment to rid Pakistan of terrorism following Kech attack
The Express Tribune | 28th January
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of Pakistan Army soldiers in the Kech district of Balochistan.
Ten soldiers embraced martyrdom after terrorists attacked a security forces' check post in Kech in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Thursday.
The media wing of the military said that intense exchange of fire occurred in the “fire raid” by terrorists on the check post. It added that the forces repulsed the attack, killing one terrorist, injuring several others and apprehending three.


China to donate three seismic centers to Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 27th January
Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Environment says that Sri Lanka will receive the coverage of 07 earthquake centers in the future.
The Minister said that People's Republic of China has already agreed to provide three seismic stations to Sri Lanka free of charge. Accordingly, the number of earthquake centers in the country will increase to 7.

US investigates into Sri Lankan steel nail imports in violation of AD/CVD laws
Daily Mirror | 28th January
The International Trade Administration Agency under the United States (U.S.) Department of Commerce (DoC) has launched an investigation into certain steel nails imports from Sri Lanka and a few other countries violating anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) laws, according to a notice published on Federal Register this week.
The petitions were filed on December 30, 2021 by the largest steel nail producer of U.S.Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc.

Sri Lanka, Indonesia look forward to strengthen relations, close collaboration on trade, tourism
Colombo Page | 25th January
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris highlighted that Sri Lanka and Indonesia shared many common interests and goals, founded on long standing historical and cultural ties that predated the formal establishment of relations between the two countries in 1952.
The Minister made these remarks at a meeting when, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Sri Lanka Dewi Gustina Tobing called on the Foreign Minister at the Foreign Ministry, on Monday 24 January 2022, the Foreign Ministry said.



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