UN stands with Afghan women and girls as they are impacted by conflict: UNAMA
The Khaama Press | 8th March
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement said that the UN stands with the Afghan women and girls as they face the consequences of multiple crises.
The press release that is made public on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8 reads that women in Afghanistan are impacted by a legacy of conflict, in addition to drought and a collapsing economy.

Nepal, India, Bangladesh ‘agree’ to open transport routes in six months
The Kathmandu Post | 10th March
Nepal, India and Bangladesh have agreed to open at least one or two transport routes for passenger vehicles under the banner of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), a sub-regional initiative, in the next six months, a senior Nepali government official said.
A meeting of three countries on the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement on March 7-8 in New Delhi, where Bhutan participated as an observer, decided to go ahead with the plan to open the route(s) as pilot operation.

Bangladesh, India soon to be connected through 6 rail links: Shringla
Prothom Alo | 10th March
Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh and India will soon be connected through six rail links and India and Nepal by two rail links, reports news agency UNB.
“Railways between countries are causing a rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography,” he said, focusing on two sectors – connectivity and energy sector – where they have shown some “striking results.”

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban: Over one million Afghan women, children addicted to narcotics
The Khaama Press | 10th March
Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Abdul Salaam Hanafi said that there are five million Afghan drug addicts among them over one million Afghan minors and women.
In his meeting with a delegation from International Rescue Committee (IRC) on Wednesday, March 9 Hanafi asked the Committee to closely assess the situation of Afghan women affected by war.

China to Host Third Regional Meeting on Afghanistan
TOLO | 9th March
The third meeting of foreign ministers of regional countries on Afghanistan will be held in China by the end of March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Twitter on Tuesday that acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in his meeting with China’s ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu discussed bilateral relations as well as the upcoming regional meeting on Afghanistan in China.

IEA recommends ways for WB aids to Afghanistan
The Kabul Times | 7th March
The World Bank announced more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, stating the money will go to UN agencies and international NGOs while remaining outside the control of the IEA authorities. The aid was provided as asked by the international community and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan recommended ways regarding the aids provided to Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Finance suggested that the expenses of projects excluded from the national budget should be decreased as well as supporting parallel sides should be avoided. 
 

BANGLADESH

‘Booster dose campaign soon’
Bangladesh Post | 10th March
Wider campaigns for a nationwide coronavirus booster dose will soon be organized to protect all eligible citizens from coronavirus infections. 
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque made the remark at a function marking the World Kidney Day at the National Institute of Kidney Diseases and Urology on Thursday.
He said, “A booster dose campaign will be organized in the country soon. Our objective is to ensure booster dose for those who are eligible but have not taken the dose yet. We have so far administered about 22 crore doses. 

PM Hasina seeks larger UAE investment in Bangladesh
Dhaka Tribune | 10th March
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) business community to invest largely in Bangladesh Social Economic Zones and high-tech parks.
"Our financial markets are now ready to support advanced private equity and fin-tech solutions. The Digital Bangladesh that we had aspired for almost twelve years ago is now a reality. I, therefore, invite you to come and partner with us," she said.

Carbon user fee to cut emission by 12pc by 2030: IMF
The Daily Star | 9th March
Bangladesh could bring down carbon dioxide emission by 12 percent by 2030 by introducing a carbon user fee on the energy sector as it strives to transition to a low-carbon economy and build climate resilience, said the International Monetary Fund.
The country has targeted to bring down carbon dioxide by 6.73 percent in that timeframe.
 

BHUTAN

Bhutan at UN’s FAO meeting
Kuensel | 9th March
Bhutan attended the 36th session of the regional conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for Asia and the Pacific, virtually in Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday.
According to a press release from FAO Bhutan Country Office, the four-day conference is being held from March 8 to 11.
Ministers and officials from 46 Asia-Pacific countries will participate to address the damages done to economies and livelihoods in the food and agriculture sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic, animal and crop diseases, and the ongoing disruption caused by the climate crisis.

Bhutan Prime Minister urges children aged 5 to 11 to get their first vaccination
Daily Bhutan | 7th March
On the recommendation of astrologers, a female child born in the year of the bird received the first paediatric dose of the Cominarty (Pfizer - BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine on March 6, 2022 at 10.30am. The event held at Jigme Namgyel Lower Secondary School kickstarted Bhutan's nationwide vaccination rollout for children.
Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, health officials and a few children from the Motithang zone were present at the event. 
 

MALDIVES

State revenue increases by 40.1 percent in February 2022
The Edition | 10th March
According to the latest update from Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA), the government collected total revenue of MVR1.41 billion in February 2022.
Moreover, the taxation and revenue collection authority confirmed that the revenue earned during the review month observed a 40.1 percent increment.
MIRA reported that the increment was mainly due to increased collections from major tax sources such as Goods and Services Tax, Income Tax, and Green Tax.

COVID-19: Maldives records 325 new cases in 24 hours
Sun | 10th March
Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Thursday, announced 325 additional cases of COVID-19, increasing confirmed cases in Maldives to 173,991.    
According to HPA, the 325 new cases include; 26 cases from the greater Male’ region, 279 cases from residential islands outside Male’, and 14 cases from operational resorts. 
Meanwhile, 307 additional COVID-19 patients were confirmed to have made full recoveries over the last 24 hours, increasing total recoveries to 159,387.  

5th Edition of Colombo Security Conclave inaugurated in Maldives 
Raajje | 9th March
The 5th Edition of Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) begins in the Maldives.
The two-day Conclave, being hosted by Maldives, is attended by National Security Advisors and Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Seychelles.
The Colombo Security Conclave was founded as a trilateral security framework between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives with four pillars of security cooperation, covering marine safety and security, human trafficking, counter-terrorism, and cyber security.
 

MYANMAR

Japanese Envoy’s Talks With Myanmar EAOs Offer Little Hope for Peace, Experts Say
The Irrawaddy | 9th March
A Japanese envoy is due to meet with some of Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) on Thursday in an effort to revive the country’s peace process, but analysts cast doubt on the significance of the talks, which appear likely to exclude many of the main groups currently involved in fighting the regime.
In his capacity as Japan’s special envoy for national reconciliation in Myanmar, Yohei Sasakawa will be joined by representatives of the Karen National Union (KNU), Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Pa-O National Liberation Council and Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

Myanmar military follows KNU ultimatum with airstrike

Myanmar Now | 10th March
Brigade 6 of the Karen National Liberation Army—the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU)—sent the junta a warning on Monday to leave the town of Lay Kay Kaw in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township within three days.
On Wednesday evening—the second day—the military attacked the area from the air. 
Saw Liston, the KNU’s secretary of Dooplaya District, which is in the territory of Brigade 6, had sent the letter to the southeastern military command asking them to depart so that people internally displaced by a previous offensive in December could return home. 
 

NEPAL

Russia-Ukraine conflict likely to exacerbate economic woes of Nepal
The Himalayan Times | 9th March
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely exacerbate the economic woes of Nepal as the spiralling oil and commodities prices in the international market will further widen the country's burgeoning trade deficit and exert even more pressure on the country's balance of payments (BoP) and foreign exchange reserves.
Deputy Director General of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Gokarna Awasthi said the Ukraine-Russia crisis would weaken Nepal's economic growth and quicken inflation.

Japan expends Rs 2.31 billion grant to improve the water supply in Biratnagar
Onlinekhabar | 10th March
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the government of Nepal in Kathmandu today, to provide grant aid of up to 2.541 billion yen (approximately Rs 2.31 billion) for the Project for the Improvement of Water Supply in Biratnagar.
The project intends to upgrade and expand water supply facilities in the Biratnagar metropolitan city contributing to the development of social and economic infrastructure, the Japanese agency says in a statement today.  
 

PAKISTAN

Remittances soar to $20.14 billion
Dawn | 11th March
Workers’ remittances in February did not disappoint the government as the inflow stood at around $2.2 billion, showing a growth of two per cent month-on-month.
However, the inflow witnessed a year-on-year growth of 7.6pc during the first eight months (July-February) of 2021-22.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday issued the latest data of remittances showing a 2pc growth in February on a month-on-month basis. However, it fell by 2.7pc in February when compared with the same month last year.

Pakistan, China may renegotiate FTA benefits
The Express Tribune | 10th March
Pakistan and China are expected to renegotiate the benefits under the current phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as trade results for 38 export items to China have not been very encouraging.
Pakistan has started drafting a renegotiation deal concerning the export of these items to China. Pakistan wants more concessions exclusive to its products, like rice, and aims for larger market access to increase its share in bilateral trade.

Ukraine-Russia conflict could affect economic condition of developing countries: PM Khan
The News | 7th March
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that the Ukraine-Russia conflict could have an adverse economic impact on developing countries while talking to the European Council President Charles Michel.
Discussing the ongoing situation in Ukraine, the PM and the EU president agreed that countries like Pakistan could play a facilitating role in this conflict. 
The development comes after PM Imran Khan had lashed out at the EU envoys for their letter in which they had sought Pakistan's condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
 

SRI LANKA

ADB President reaffirms support for Sri Lanka’s recovery
Colombo Page | 11th March
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met in Colombo Thursday. In the meeting, Mr. Asakawa reaffirmed ADB’s support for Sri Lanka’s recovery path from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mr. Asakawa commended the government’s rapid vaccination drive, which has been critical to managing the spread of COVID-19 and kick-starting economic activities amid social, fiscal, and debt challenges.

Amount of fuel to be imported under USD 500 mn Indian credit line will be less due to steep hike price
The Island | 10th March
Minister of Energy Gamini Lokuge said that the amount of fuel that Sri Lanka would receive from India, through a USD 500 million credit line, would be lower than expected due to the rapid increase in fuel prices in the international market.
The Minister said that the price of a barrel of Brent crude had reached USD 130 on Tuesday.
“This is a big jump in price compared to when we came to an agreement with India, By 15 March we should get about seven or eight ships of oil from India” he said.

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister apprises U.S. envoy of progress made in reconciliation and human rights
Colombo Page | 10th March
The newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung called on Foreign Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo.
Minister Peiris extended a warm welcome to Ambassador Chung and stated that he looks forward to working closely with her during her tenure in Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry said.

 

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