Nearly 80% of Afghan journalists changed their profession to survive
The Khaama Press | 11th January
Journalists’ Foundation of Afghanistan said that Afghan Journalists are going through the worst economic situation as 79% of them have lost their jobs and resorted to other professions to make money and survive.
The foundation has assessed the lives of Afghan journalists in the past one and a half months and found that they are living the worst life due to the fragile economic situation.
Prior to that, statistics have shown that up to 75 percent of media in Afghanistan have been shut due to financial woes.

India confirms SAARC currency swap up to US$ 400mn
Daily Mirror | 14th January
India has confirmed its support to Sri Lanka by way of a currency swap under the SAARC arrangement and a deferment of a previous loan.  
In an update on Twitter, the Indian High Commission in Colombo yesterday said that the RBI had provided Sri Lanka the opportunity to defer an Asian Clearing Union settlement of over US$ 500 million, and a currency swap of US$ 400 million. 
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal tweeted that he had an excellent discussion with Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay in the former’s office.

Bangladesh’s economy to grow by 6.4pc in 2021-22: WB
Prothom Alo | 13th January
The Bangladesh economy is expected to grow by 6.4 per cent in the current 2021-22 fiscal year while 6.9 per cent in the 2022-23 fiscal, the World Bank projected.
The World Bank made the projection in its ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report.
As per the World Bank estimate, the GDP growth was 5 per cent in the last 2020-21 fiscal.
The World Bank report said South Asia’s economy rebounded in the second half of the year following a massive second wave of Covid-19 in mid-2021.

AFGHANISTAN

US to send $308 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
The Khaama Press | 12th January
The United States has announced that they will send to Afghanistan $308 million and one million doses of “Covax” vaccines as part of their humanitarian aids to the country.
Spokesperson of the US National Security Council Emily Horne said that the money is part of $782 million announced by the US government in October 2021 for the Afghan people.
Horne said that the US is now the biggest donor for Afghanistan.

Chinese solar suppliers eye Afghanistan market
Afghanistan Times | 11th January
Chinese photovoltaic (PV) suppliers are eyeing opportunities in Afghanistan amid the growing expectation of more cooperation from the Afghan government and businesses there, where electricity supplies are uncertain.
The Chinese business representative group called Chinatown in Kabul is in close contact with several domestic PV companies about doing business in the Central Asian country, the Global Times learned.
 

BANGLADESH

Covid infection rate soars to 12.03pc
Prothom Alo | 13th January
Bangladesh reported 12 more Covid-19 deaths and 3359 cases.
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said the rate of infection was 12.03 per cent in the last 24 hours till 8:00am.
The daily positivity rate kept increasing from 11.68 per cent yesterday and 8.97 per cent.
The rate was just above 1 per cent at the beginning on December but it started to rise during the second half.
A total of 27,486 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.

Danish PM, Sheikh Hasina discuss climate, trade
Dhaka Tribune | 13th January
Bangladesh and Denmark have agreed to work together on climate change and infrastructural development issues for mutual benefits.  
Both the countries expressed their eagerness when Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen phoned Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday afternoon marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence and 50 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. 
 

BHUTAN

Bhutan's transition into the age of digitalisation
Daily Bhutan | 13th January
Bhutan was introduced to telecommunications in 1963, print media in 1965, radio in 1973, then TV broadcasting and the Internet in the late 1990s. But although the country might have been a late bloomer, it didn’t take long for them to fully embrace information and communication technologies (ICT), aware of the dangers of being stuck on the wrong side of the global digital divide. 
Today, technology has changed the way of life in Bhutan. Like the rest of the world, the way the Bhutanese connect with each other has slowly evolved. Once upon a time, a meeting would mean setting an appointment time and place then physically getting together.

Recent local cases Omicron variant 
Kuensel | 14th January
The recent spate of Covid-19 cases in the community and from the quarantine centres was the Omicron variants, according to the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC).
The centre collected 14 random samples from various quarantine facilities in Thimphu, Wangdue, Phuentsholing, and Paro, including the one community case from Phuentsholing.
A member of the Technical Advisory Group for Covid-19 Dr Sonam Wangchuk said that RCDC has completed the gene sequencing of representative RT-PCR positive samples and all samples from the gene sequencing were confirmed as Omicron variants.
 

MALDIVES

Maldives may see an Omicron wave at the end of January: HPA
The Edition | 11th January
Health Protection Agency (HPA) predicts that Maldives may see a surge in cases by the end of January.
Omicron variant has been noted to be more contagious than the previously dominant delta variant.
Iin a press conference held on Tuesday. Dr. Nazla said HPA's projection's show that Covid cases may peak at the end of January or during the beginning of February.

Maldives to start wide range booster campaign in January
The Edition | 12th January
Minister of State for Health Dr. Shah Mahir said that a large scale booster program will be initiated later this month.
The delay in starting the booster program was unavailability of syringes due to a worldwide shortage. Shah had said the required medical equipment was expected to arrive within the next week.
Maldives received 100,620 doses of Pfizer vaccine from USA, via COVAX facility in December 2021.
 

MYANMAR

Junta Chief to Preside Over Myanmar’s First Grand Military Review in Seven Years
The Irrawaddy | 12th January
Myanmar military coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is planning to hold a grand military review next month, when the country marks its 75th annual Union Day, becoming the first military dictator to preside over such a ceremony, which has previously been held only by civilian presidents.
In the past, the ceremony, known as “Boshu Thabin” in Burmese, was normally an occasion on which the country’s civilian presidents were saluted by honor guards, parade columns of military and police personnel, as well as members of social organizations.

Myanmar Junta Airstrikes Continue in Kayah State
The Irrawaddy | 12th January
Myanmar’s military regime airstrikes have continued against Kayah State’s capital Loikaw as its ground troops appear to have been defeated by resistance forces.
Tuesday’s airstrike was the second targeting the city in four days.
On Tuesday morning, a fierce clash between regime forces and the people’s defense forces, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), continue in Loikaw.
 

NEPAL

New virus wave hits political meetings, gatherings
The Kathmandu Post | 14th January
Rising coronavirus cases across the country have affected political activities and high-profile meetings including Cabinet meetings and other planned events.
In response to the ongoing upsurge in infections, the government and local administrations have started imposing a series of restrictions across the country including in the Capital, Kathmandu making it difficult to organize large gatherings.
On Thursday, the country reported 2,922 new cases of Covid and one death from the disease.

World Bank's GDP growth projection for Nepal unchanged at 3.9pc for this fiscal
The Himalayan Times | 12th January
In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank has forecast Nepal's economy will grow 3.9 per cent in the current fiscal year 'supported by better agricultural output and rebounding services activity on improving vaccine coverage'. The forecast is unchanged from its projection last year.
The growth estimate for fiscal year 2020-21 and forecast for 2022-23, however, have been revised down. The international financial institution estimates Nepal's GDP growth was 1.8 per cent in 2020-21, 0.9 percentage points lower than its earlier projection. 
 

PAKISTAN

PM Imran launches public version of first-ever National Security Policy
Dawn | 14th January
Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled a public version of the country's first-ever National Security Policy (NSP), saying the country was in dire need of a multi-pronged strategy for the future to ensure the protection of its citizens and guard economic interests.
The NSP was approved by the federal cabinet on December 28, a day after it got the nod of the National Security Committee.

Single day Covid tally hits four-month high
The Express Tribune | 14th January
Almost all the Covid indicators shot to the level witnessed during the height of previous waves of the pandemic, according to the daily data issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
Because of a sharp increase in the new Covid cases during the last 24 hours, an interprovincial education ministers meeting was postponed until next week. The meeting was supposed to discuss, whether the educational institutions should stay open amid a fifth wave of coronavirus.

Govt to hold int’l conference on CPEC significance soon: Khalid
The Nation | 14th January
The fifth edition of Pakistan’s largest corporate event ‘The Future Summit’, organised by the Nutshell Group in collaboration with the Martin Dow Group, concluded at a local hotel yesterday in Karachi.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs, Khalid Mansoor, while addressing The Future Summit, said: “During the initial stage of CPEC, power was too expensive because of the furnace fuel cost which could directly hit country’s balance of payment.” SAPM Khalid Mansoor also emphasized that CPEC is not China centric, rather it is all about regional connectivity. “We will soon hold international conference on CPEC significance,” he added.
 

SRI LANKA

China will provide assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity
Colombo Page | 12th January
China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future, China has assured.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin responding to a media query at the regular press briefing on Monday whether China meet Sri Lanka’s request for debt relief said since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Sri Lanka have been showing each other understanding and support.

ADB to support Sri Lanka to develop SMEs, restructure SOEs
Colombo Page | 10th January
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Shixin Chen has stated that the Bank will support the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) sector for the economic development of the country.
The Vice President Chen made these remarks when he met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, Monday (10), President’s Media Division said.
Mr. Chen commended the success of ongoing projects in Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank. He further said that the ADB is ready to provide funds to restructure several state owned enterprises (SOEs).

 

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