Moscow to host Troika Plus on Afghanistan
The Khaama Press | 30th December
Russia’s special representative to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov announced that his country will host Troika Plus on Afghanistan in January 2022 inviting the US, China, and Pakistan.
Earlier, Pakistan hosted Troika Plus concentrated on Afghanistan, and the Taliban authorities were also invited to the meeting.
It is still unclear whether the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be invited to the meeting.

Sri Lanka finalizing talks to reacquire oil tanks leased to India: Minister
Colombo Page | 29th December
Sri Lanka is nearing completion of talks with India to reacquire the 99 World War II-era oil storage tanks leased to the Indian Oil Corporation in the strategically advantaged port district of Trincomalee in the country’s east coast, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said, Press Trust of India reported.
Since 2003, the Lanka IOC, the Sri Lankan subsidiary of India’s oil major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), has the leasing rights to 99 tanks at the facility for a period of 35 years for an annual payment of USD 100,000.

Pakistan, China vow to tap full potential of Gwadar port, free zone
Dawn | 31st December
Pakistan and China resolved to redouble efforts to tap full potential of the Gwadar port and free zone and to ensure that the local population fully benefits from the projects launched in various sectors.
Pakistani and Chinese officials held meetings of the two Joint Working Groups on Gwadar and Socio-Economic Development through video conferencing equipment, said a press release issued by the planning ministry.

AFGHANISTAN

Women protest in Kabul for rights to education, work
Afghanistan Times | 28th December
A group of women staged a protest in Kabul, urging the Taliban government to allow girls in school and women to work.
The women marched in downtown Kabul and chanted slogans and messages, demanding their rights to work, educate and food be reinstated by the Taliban.
Governments and human rights groups have pressured the Taliban to commit to upholding rights for women since it seized power in Afghanistan in August.

Taliban asks national and international companies to sign with them security contracts
The Khaama Press | 28th December
The Interior Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a statement asked all national and international companies and firms to refer to the ministry and sign the security contracts.
The ministry has reactivated the National Public Protection Forces and appointed Enaitullah as head of the forces.
National Public Protection Forces had replaced private national and international security companies and were providing security services to various national and international companies based on contracts.
 

BANGLADESH

Capital market reaches new heights
Bangladesh Post | 30th December
The country's capital market has reached new heights during this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, experts said.
The country's capital market is better than at any time in the past, now the capital market has become a good place for investments, the experts said.
Despite the negative impact of corona on the overall economy, the country's capital market is showing signs of recovery, they mentioned.

Bangladesh Targets To Vaccinate 40m People Each Month
Dhaka Tribune | 29th December
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said the government has set a target to vaccinate 40 million people each month from January 2022.
"About 40 million people will be vaccinated each month, meaning 40 million people will receive coronavirus vaccines from next month," he told a meeting at Dhaka Club here, an official release said.

Covid-19: Bangladesh begins administering booster dose
Prothom Alo | 28th December
Bangladesh on Tuesday morning officially began the administration of booster doses of a Covid-19 vaccine but “on a limited scale,” reports UNB.
From 10:00am, a few hospitals in Dhaka started administering the third Covid-19 jab -- the Pfizer vaccine -- as a booster dose, Shamsul Haq, the director of the Directorate General of Health Services’ (DGHS) vaccination programme, told UNB.
 

BHUTAN

Bhutan is set to launch its second satellite into space very soon
Daily Bhutan | 29th December
The tiny Himalayan country achieved a significant milestone when they launched their first satellite, BHUTAN-1 into outer space! BHUTAN-1 was a 10-cubic centimetre CubeSat weighing 1kg. 
The satellite travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3.42 p.m. BST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. Also along for the ride were the BIRDS-2 CubeSats of Philippines and Malaysia—MAYA-1 and UiTMST-1 respectively.
 

MALDIVES

Maldives welcomes 1.3 millionth tourist
The Edition | 29th December
Maldives welcomed the 1.3 millionth tourist on Monday, achieving the goal set for the year by Tourism Ministry.
According to Tourism Ministry the 1.3 millionth tourist was a visitor from Romania, Constantin S. Emil. He came to spend the holidays with his family in Bandos Island Resort.
He had visited Maldives five years prior for his honeymoon as well.
Managing Director of Maldives Marketing, and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Thoyyib Mohamed noted that achieving their target goals for tourists at a time when tourism was slow moving due to the ongoing pandemic.

China’s Foreign Minister to visit Maldives in January
Sun | 30th December
China’s Foreign Minister, State Councilor Wang Yi is set to visit Maldives in January.
Wang is visiting the Maldives in response to an invitation extended by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid during the latter’s visit to China in November 2021.
During Wang’s visit, he will call on President Solih and will lead the Chinese delegation in the official bilateral talks between the two countries. In addition to this, the celebrations pertaining to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Maldives and China will be launched.  
 

MYANMAR

China Provides Submarine to Myanmar Junta
The Irrawaddy | 27th December
Myanmar last week took possession of a submarine from China at a ceremony in Yangon presided over by coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The commissioning ceremony was timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Myanmar Navy.
Named Min Ye Kyaw Htin, the Ming-class Type 035 diesel electric submarine is intended to serve a dual function: as a stopgap attack submarine, and as a training vessel. China is one of the key suppliers of military hardware to Myanmar’s armed forces, including jet fighters and naval ships. Myanmar has also purchased advanced jet fighters from Russia and Pakistan.

Myanmar Junta Sentences NLD Leaders and Activists Ahead of New Year's Eve
The Irrawaddy | 30th December
Ahead of New Year’s Eve, Myanmar’s junta courts have been busily handing down the verdicts to detained National League for Democracy (NLD) government ministers, NLD leaders, artists and student leaders in Yangon, Bago and Magwe regions and Kachin and Shan states.
At least 62 detainees and ousted leaders accused of supporting or participating in the anti-regime protests were sentenced to prison on Thursday.
 

NEPAL

Government mulls confining Federal Affairs Ministry to policymaking
The Kathmandu Post | 30th December
The government is mulling over restructuring the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration largely confining the ministry to policymaking roles while devolving its several powers to its subsidiary institutions, and provincial and local governments.
A committee headed by the ministry’s Joint-secretary Basanta Adhikari is preparing to recommend among other things changing the name of the ministry.
“We have proposed that the name of the ministry be changed to Ministry of Federal Affairs and Human Resources,” Adhikari told the Post.

Nepal records 235 new Covid-19 cases, 228 discharges, 0 fatality on Thursday
The Himalayan Times | 30th December
Nepal's coronavirus caseload reached 828,207 on Thursday with 235 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the total coronavirus recoveries stand at 811,746 with 228 discharges logged today.
On the other hand, the countrywide Covid-19 mortality toll remains at 11,590 with no fatality today.
The country's active Covid-19 case count currently is 4,871 against 4,864 a day before.

​​​​

PAKISTAN

46% of Pakistan's eligible population vaccinated: Asad Umar
The Express Tribune | 31st December
Chief of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and Planning Minister Asad Umar on Friday announced that 46% of Pakistan’s eligible population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and 63% have received at least one jab.
The minister took to his official Twitter handle and stated that Islamabad led the federating units with 77% of its population being vaccinated.

Pakistan sends humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
The Nation | 31st December
Pakistan yesterday sent first consignment of 1800 metric tonnes of wheat as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The first consignment of 1800 metric tonnes of wheat crossed Torkham border earlier in the day, the foreign ministry announced. The consignment is part of the humanitarian package of Rs 5 billion for in-kind assistance for Afghanistan announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The package includes 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat, winter shelters and emergency medical supplies.  The first consignment was handed over by Shehzad Arbab, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, to the Afghan side, the foreign ministry statement said.
 

 SRI LANKA

41 more Omicron cases identified in Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror | 31st December
A total of 41 more cases of Omicron COVID variant have been recorded in the country.
According to Director of the Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Sri Jayewardenepura University Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, a total 45 such cases have been confirmed in their labs at the Sri Jayawardenapura University as of today.
However, he said Sri Lanka had plenty of mitigation measures against Omicron variant.
Dr Jeewandara urged people to get their booster shot as early as possible.

Saudi Fund for Development pledges continuous support for Sri Lanka’s development efforts
Colombo Page | 29th December
During a meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Wednesday at Temple Trees, the CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad expressed continuous support for implementing development projects in Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa expressed his gratitude to SFD as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the support extended to Sri Lanka for development projects as well as the continued close collaboration and friendship between the two governments, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

 

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