Prominent Afghans React to Closed Girls' Schools
TOLO | 23rd March
The Ministry of Education's prohibition of female students over grade 6 to attend school has provoked reactions from the public and some former government officials.
Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the former government's reconciliation council, and a number of politicians and former government officials have criticized the Education Ministry's decision to not allow girls to attend school after grade six, and called on the Islamic Emirate to provide education to all students.

Deuba to visit India on April 1-3 in first official foreign trip since taking office
The Kathmandu Post | 24th March
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is all set to embark on a three-day official visit to India starting April 1.
Political and diplomatic sources told the Post that Deuba has already received and accepted the invitation extended by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to visit the southern neighbour.
The visit will take place immediately after Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi concludes his three-day Nepal visit.

Indian investors visit Sri Lanka to explore investment opportunities
Colombo Page | 21st March
A high-level group of 14 Indian investors who arrived in Sri Lanka today (21) to explore investment opportunities met with the Minister of Industries S. B. Dissanayake.
The group of investors, representing a wide range of sectors such as apparel, cashew industry, robotics, drone technology, home security equipment manufacturing, informed the Minister that they would like to invest in Sri Lanka, the Ministry said.

AFGHANISTAN

IEA’s cabinet meeting: government is impoverished; people must assist
The Khaama Press | 24th March
Cabinet meeting of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said, had they (interim government) got enough money, they would have paid salaries for every single man and woman in Afghanistan but the government is impoverished so people must assist the government.
The three-day cabinet meeting was held in Kandahar and was headed by the supreme leader of the Taliban Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada for the first time.

OIC Meeting Calls for Support Afghanistan
Afghanistan Times | 22nd March
The participants at the 48th summit of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for providing further support to Afghanistan as the country is gripped with a severe crisis.
The summit was held in Islamabad on Tuesday and is set for Wednesday as well.
An Islamic Emirate delegation attended the meeting.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that support should be fueled to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
 

BANGLADESH

Nordic countries’ assistance to Bangladesh to continue: Envoys
Prothom Alo | 23rd March
Three Nordic countries - Denmark, Norway and Sweden- have assured Bangladesh of continuing their assistance for the economic development of the country, reports UNB.
The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Bangladesh -- Winnie Estrup Petersen, Espen Rikter-Svendsen and Alex Berg von Linde respectively-- said this at a meeting with Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday.

EU keen to explore ICT trade, investment opportunities in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Post | 22nd March
The Ambassador, Head of Delegation of European Union Charles Whiteley expressed interest in collaborating with BASIS for exploring the ICT-related opportunities between the European Union region and Bangladesh. 
The envoy shown his interest in a call on meeting between Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh and BASIS was held at the European Union Delegation Office, Dhaka. 

Japan pledges continued supports to Bangladesh development
Dhaka Tribune | 22nd March
The Japanese government is firm to provide its continued support in various projects and socio-economic development of Bangladesh.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki stated this as he paid a courtesy call on President M Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.
"The Government of Japan is working on various projects, including construction of different mega projects like Metrorail and Third Terminal in Bangladesh.

Climate change: ‘It’s time to step up’
The Daily Star | 24th March
Bangladesh has called for sincere commitment and urgent action from developed nations to fight climate change and ensure a gender-equal, sustainable world.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatunnesa Indira made the call while delivering the country's statement at a session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters yesterday.​​​​​​
 

BHUTAN

Towards flattening the youth unemployment curve in Bhutan
Business Bhutan | 24th March
The report, “Addressing the Youth Unemployment Challenge in Bhutan through a Systemic Portfolio-Based Approach” released in Thimphu yesterday, presents gaps within the employment system identified through extensive consultations with youths and other stakeholders.
Based on these pain points, the report proposes a portfolio of integrated solutions to tackle youth unemployment in a holistic, strategic, and collaborative way.

More than Nu 17B revenue loss due to delay in commissioning of PII and Nikachhu
Kuensel | 21st March
The country would forgo a gross revenue of Nu 17.6B due to the delay in commissioning of the 1,020 megawatt (MW) Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project II (PII) and 118MW Nikachu Hydroelectric project.
PII was supposed to be commissioned by mid of this year and Nikachu by 2021, but the pandemic, labour shortage and geological issues hampered the progress of the two projects.
Both projects are expected to be commissioned only in 2023. PII is set to complete by July 2023 and Nikachu by the onset of monsoon 2023.
 

MALDIVES

Nasheed: Maldives was liberated with India's participation
The Edition | 23rd March
Former President and Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed said that the Maldives received assistance from India to gain independence from the British.
Speaking about the emergency motion submitted to the parliament today against the opposition's "India Out" movement, Nasheed said the Maldives was managed by the colonial government in Sri Lanka when India gained independence in 1947.
Nasheed said that there must have been a reason that Maldives did not gain independence while two neighboring countries gained freedom that year. The two countries are India and Pakistan.

Parliament grants approval for Maldives to join OACPS
Sun | 23rd March
Parliament has provided its approval for Maldives to join the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had asked for parliamentary approval to join OACPS back in January.
The Parliament granted its approval with the unanimous consensus of all parliamentarians who took part in the vote on Wednesday afternoon.

USAID to continue supporting major projects in Maldives’ environment sector
Raajje | 22nd March
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to continue supporting major projects in the environment sector of the Maldives.
This was revealed by the USAID Mission Director assigned to Maldives and Sri Lanka, Reed Aeschliman during an exclusive interview with RaajjeTV.
As such, when inquired about the details of some of the major projects the agency is currently supporting in the Maldives, Aeschliman revealed that Maldives is one of the countries severely impacted by climate change and that it is a threat to the very existence of Maldives, hence, USAID has focused a lot of its resources to the environment sector over the years, and expects to continue to do so.
 

MYANMAR

Myanmar Junta-Appointed UEC to Decide NLD's Fate Later This Month
The Irrawaddy | 24th March
Myanmar’s regime-appointed Union Election Commission will rule on the legality of the National League for Democracy (NLD) later this month for failing to comply with its order to submit financial accounts and expenses for inspection.
The NLD has refused to recognize the UEC, which was formed after last year’s coup and said all its announcements are illegal.

ASEAN envoy’s Myanmar trip unsuccessful, leading NLD member says
Myanmar Now | 24th March
A three-day trip to Myanmar by Cambodian foreign minister and ASEAN special envoy Prak Sokhonn this week did not offer any breakthroughs in the country’s ongoing crisis, said a central executive committee (CEC) member of the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose elected government was ousted in last year’s military coup.
CEC member Aung Kyi Nyunt—who is also the chair of the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which represents deposed NLD lawmakers—dismissed the Monday-Wednesday visit as “not meaningful” nor “a success.”
 

NEPAL

China's supportive role expected for prosperity
The Himalayan Times | 23rd March
The official visit of Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi this weekend is not only expected to take the centuries-old people-to-people relations between the two countries to new heights but also ensure that problem-free Nepal-China relations can build a reliable partnership in Nepal's journey towards prosperity.
The visit, which is taking place after a hiatus of three years, is expected to be productive in further strengthening cooperation and partnership between Nepal and China on issues of common concern and mutual interest. 

Nepal ready to pay a high price to India to avert further electricity crisis
Onlinekhabar | 24th March
Nepal has expressed readiness to pay a high price to India to avert a likely electricity crisis in the country’s industrial sector.
In a press meet, Nepal Electricity Authority‘s spokesperson Suresh Kumar Bhattarai informed the authority compromised to pay India as high as INR 20 for a unit. So far, Nepal had been getting that for INR 8 per unit.
“Although the rate is fixed at INR 20 (equivalent to Rs 32 in Nepal), one unit will cost us as much as Rs 38 when it arrives in Nepal due to the transmission charge and other costs.”
 

PAKISTAN

PM Imran Khan wants OIC, China to play role in ending Ukraine conflict
The News | 22nd March
Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday urged the Islamic countries and China to play role in resolving the Ukraine crisis.
Addressing the 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said the Muslim countries should not drag themselves into bloc politics and rather show their power for bringing peace in the world.
Showing concern over the simmering Ukrainian conflict, the prime minister said the OIC, China and all the non-partisan countries should use their influence to resolve the dispute and bring an end to the war that has displaced millions of people.

Pakistani, Saudi Ministers Discuss Investment Strategy
The Nation | 25th March
Pakistani and Saudi investment ministers met in Tashkent to discuss investment strategy.
Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI), Muhammad Azfar Ahsan had a detailed meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Investment, Khalid Al-Falih in Tashkent. CEO of National Companies Promotion Program (NCPP) Badr Al Badr, Chairman ACWA Power Mohammad Abunayyan and Saudi Ambassador in Uzbekistan were also a part of the meeting.

No-trust on agenda as ‘fateful’ NA sitting begins
Dawn | 25th March
The much-anticipated session of the National Assembly with a crucial no-confidence resolution — filed by the opposition against Prime Minister Imran Khan — on the agenda, is set to commence at 11am today (Friday).
However, despite the fact that the resolution has been placed on the agenda for today’s sitting, it may not be tabled for discussion on the same day.
The National Assembly Secretariat on Thursday issued a 15-point ‘Orders of the Day’ for the NA session, which included the no-confidence resolution, but it is believed that normal house proceedings will not be held on the first day of the sitting due to death of MNA Khayal Zaman.
 

SRI LANKA

Unloading of second diesel consignment from India begins - Energy Minister
Colombo Page | 25th March
The second fuel tanker with a consignment of 40,000 metric tons of diesel procured under the line of credit provided by India also arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday (24) and unloading of the diesel to Kolonnawa commenced yesterday itself, said Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge.
He said another ship carrying 37,300 metric tons of diesel was due to arrive on April 1.
Meanwhile, a petrol tanker was also unloading at the Muthurajawela storage complex yesterday (24), Minister Lokuge said.

Health officials concerned as Pfizer vaccines set to expire in July
Daily Mirror | 25th March
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in stock will be expiring in July, an official said.
According to sources, the vaccines are due to expire by the end of July.
“As far as the expiry date of Pfizer vaccines is concerned, albeit there is no threat at present, the vaccines will have to be incinerated if we didn’t reach the expected percentage which is at least 80 per cent,” sources said.

Criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity in Sri Lanka breached rights of a LGBTI activist, UN women’s rights committee says
The Island | 25th March
Sri Lanka violated the rights of a lesbian and leading LGBTI activist who was subjected to discrimination, threats and abuses due to the country’s Penal Code that criminalises same-sex sexual activity, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has found.
In its decision published yesterday, CEDAW found that Sri Lanka has breached the rights of Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, the founder and Executive Director of Equal Ground, an organisation defending the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Sri Lanka.
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