Sri Lanka, India ink agreement to jointly develop Trinco oil tanks
Colombo Page | 6th January
The agreement to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farm with India has been signed this evening (06), Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila announced.
Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary, the Commissioner General of Lands, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Lanka ICO and the subsidiary company Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd were the signatories to the agreement.

India supplies Afghanistan with half a million Covaxin doses
Afghanistan Times | 3rd January
India’s Bharat Biotech informed that India has supplied another batch of humanitarian assistance consisting of 5,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin to Afghanistan.
Taking to Twitter, Bharat Biotech said, “Today, India supplied the next batch of humanitarian assistance consisting of 5,00,000 doses of COVID vaccine (COVAXIN) to Afghanistan. The same was handed over to Indira Gandhi Hospital, Kabul.” It also informed that another batch of additional 5,00,000 doses would be supplied in the coming weeks.

India to double internet bandwidth from Bangladesh to boost connectivity in northeast
Prothom Alo | 6th January
With the aim to boost internet connectivity in North-Eastern states, the Indian government has decided to double the 10 GBPS (giga byte per second) internet bandwidth from Bangladesh’ Cox’s Bazar to India in the coming weeks.
Speaking at an event in Imphal, Manipur, central minister for information and technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Two to three months back, thinking out of the box, we took an experimental connection of 10 GBPS fibre connectivity from Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) to Agartala.

AFGHANISTAN

UN collects $1.5 billion to address Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis
The Khaama Press | 5th January
The spokesperson of the General Secretary of the United Nations has announced that based on the estimates of the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, they have so far collected $1.5 billion to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Stephen Dujarric, spokesperson of UNGS in a press conference, 5 January 2022 said that the ongoing freezing winter will make the lives of Afghan people further dire.

It is time for world to recognize Taliban: Deputy FM
The Khaama Press | 6th January
Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai said that they have completed all preconditions for recognition and now is the time for the International Community to come forward and recognize the IEA.
Speaking at a convention in Paktia province, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai said that security, rule of law, and full control over Afghanistan’s borders are major preconditions for recognitions that have been met by the Taliban.
 

BANGLADESH

Daily Covid cases jumps to 1140, 7 deaths in 24 hrs
Bangladesh Post | 6th January
Bangladesh registered seven more deaths in 24 hours from Covid-19 till 8am Thursday. The total number of deaths has reached to 28,097 with the latest figure.
The country recorded 1140 new infections in the meantime taking the total number of people infected to 1,589,947, according to a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The current positivity rate stands 4.86 percent and the overall positivity rate stands at 13.69 percent.

Covid: Protective gears now mandatory for police members
Dhaka Tribune | 7th January
As the Covid-19 cases continue to surge, the Police Headquarters issued a guideline to keep its members protected from infection by the new variant of the Covid virus, Omicron.
According to the 21-point directive, every policeman must wear a mask, gloves, headcover, face shield etc while on duty.
Hand sanitizers should be used from time to time while performing duty and hands should be cleaned with soap/hand wash at the end of regular duty.
 

BHUTAN

MoEA minister visits India to discuss trade, commerce, and hydropower
Kuensel | 6th January
Minister of Economic Affairs Loknath Sharma will meet the commerce and power minister of India to discuss trade, commerce, and hydropower issues and challenges.
Lyonpo is on an official visit to India from today to attend the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit that will be held from January 10 to 12 this year as a representative from the government.
“We will also explore opportunities to seek interest from investors during this event, and meet with a few potential investors,” Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said.
 

MALDIVES

India grants 5.49m for mobilization works in High Impact Grant Projects
Sun | 6th January
India grants Maldives MVR 5.49 million to kick-start mobilization works for brand new High Impact Grant Projects.
MoU's related to the MVR 36.5 million projects to be conducted in seven atolls were signed between both countries in October 2021. The Mous was signed under the Indian grant assistance scheme for the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) through local bodies.

Health experts predict Omicron will lead to an increase in cases within 3 weeks: President
The Edition | 4th January
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Tuesday that health experts have predicted that Maldives will see a surge in Covid-19 cases within the next 3 weeks.
The President is currently on a tour to visit five islands in Noonu Atoll. After officially opening the harbour of Noonu Landhoo, he said that Maldivian health experts have been having discussions regarding the highly contagious variant Omicron, that has lead to a tsunami of cases globally.
 

MYANMAR

Head of Myanmar’s Shadow Govt Vows to Continue ‘Second Struggle for Independence’
The Irrawaddy | 5th January
The acting president of Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), Duwa Lashi La, has called the ongoing people’s defensive war against the junta, which the shadow government launched nearly four months ago, a “second struggle for independence”.
In his speech on the occasion of Myanmar’s 74th annual Independence Day commemoration on Tuesday, the acting president said that although the country is now free from colonial rule, its people continue to suffer harsh violence and repression at the hands of military dictatorships, pointing out that the military has staged coups four times over the period.

Concerns Over Hun Sen’s Aims Ahead of ASEAN Chair’s Visit
The Irrawaddy | 5th January
Later this week, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will fly into Myanmar, which has been riddled with violence since a military coup last year.
But he holds out hope of a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in the country as he prepares for a visit on Jan. 7 in a bid to bring Myanmar back into the fold of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The country was isolated by the bloc last year, especially over junta boss Min Aung Hlaing’s failure to keep his promise to the group to implement a peace plan.
 

NEPAL

Deuba visit cancelled as India postpones Gujarat summit
The Kathmandu Post | 7th January
The government has cancelled Prime Minister Sher Deuba’s visit to India after India’s Gujarat state government postponed the Vibrant Gujarat Summit amid rising Covid-19 cases, just four days before its kickoff.
The Gujarat government has announced that it has postponed the Vibrant Gujarat investor summit due to a rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, Indian media reported.

Call to reinstate Nepal as Hindu Sanatan Dharma state
The Himalayan Times | 7th January
Religious leaders have spoken of the need of a religious movement to exert pressure for reinstating Nepal as a Hindu state.
Participants gathering organised by the World Hindu Federation at Bharatpur of Chitwan yesterday, expressed concern about the 'imposition' of secularism in the country.
Federation central Chair Ramchandra Adhikari said the movement to restore Hindu state should be launched from Chitwan and spread nationwide.
 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan, GCC finalise action plan to bolster cooperation
The Express Tribune | 6th January
Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) finalised the ‘Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-26)’, to provide an institutional approach to deepen cooperation in various fields, the Foreign Office said.
The plan was discussed in a meeting between the visiting GCC Secretary General Dr Nayef Falah M Al-Hajraf and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Both sides underscored that the Action Plan would provide a strong impetus to optimally realising the tremendous potential for increased cooperation.

Pakistan highly values its ties with Turkey: COAS
The Nation | 7th January
General Selcuk Bayraktaroglu, Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff, called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ Rawalpindi.
During the meeting, matters of regional security situation, mutual and professional interests with special emphasis on defence and security collaboration between the two brotherly countries were discussed, according to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate.

Govt plans National Assembly session on Jan 10 for approval of ‘mini-budget’
Dawn | 7th January
The government is all set to convene the National Assembly session on January 10 for holding a debate on the controversial finance supplementary bill, generally known as mini-budget, and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has already prepared a summary for this purpose.
This was stated by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan during an informal chat with Dawn here.
 

SRI LANKA

SL yet to finalize its offer for world’s largest blue sapphire; envisages over US$ 100 mn
Daily Mirror | 6th January
Sri Lanka is still negotiating with the Dubai-based company which has offered US$ 100 million for the ‘Queen of Asia’, the world’s largest natural corundum blue sapphire found in Sri Lanka, whether to make final deal.
State Minister Lohan Ratwatte who is currently in Dubai told the Daily Mirror that no final decision was taken into the company's offer to sell the ‘Queen of Asia'.
He said the officials and the owner of the blue sapphire are still at the discussion stage with the company for the highest offer more than US$ 100.

Sri Lanka to begin Covid-19 vaccination for children 12-15 years of age Friday
Colombo Page | 5th January
Vaccination of children between the ages of 12-15 years in Sri Lanka will commence on Friday (07), said the Minister of Health, Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella.
Previously, the vaccine was given to children aged 15-19 years. In addition, about 30,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 with various complications have been vaccinated.
At present, only one vaccine is recommended for children over 12 years of age.

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