Up to 6,500 Pakistanis among foreign terrorists fighting in Afghanistan: UN
The Khaama Press | 3rd June
 
The presence of thousands of foreign terrorists including up to 6,500 Pakistani nationals pose a complex challenge for the Taliban group to prove its credibility as a counter-terrorism partner following the signing of peace deal with the United States, the United Nations said in its report.
“The Monitoring Team now estimates that ISIL-K numbers are as low as 2,200 in Afghanistan. It remains capable of mounting attacks in various parts of the country, including Kabul, but some of those claimed may have arisen wholly or partly from a tactical accommodation with the Haqqani Network,” the report said.

 

Myanmar govt proposes fewer delegates at peace talks
Myanmar Times | 4th June
 
Government negotiators have asked ethnic armed groups participating in formal peace talks next month to cut the number of delegates by two-thirds to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The government also proposed that the fourth session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong has to agree on the basic principles of a federal union, which has been the source of disagreement in past negotiations.

 

UK & SL working together in search for Covid-19 vaccine
Daily Mirror | 5th June
 
The United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are working together in search for a Covid-19 vaccine, the UK High Commission in Sri Lanka said.
High Commissioner Sarah Hulton said they are also delighted to announce Rs.10 million in new funding to support vital immunology research between scientists at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford and the University of Sri Jayawardenepura who are studying the immune response of Covid-19 patients in different populations.

 

AFGHANISTAN

 
 Coronavirus Cases in Afghanistan Cross 15,000 Mark
Daily Outlook Afghanistan | 1st June
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Afghanistan has climbed to 15,205, the country's Public Health Ministry announced.
Deputy Public Health Minister Wahid Majrooh, who was speaking at an event to inaugurate a telemedicine center in Kabul, said that a total of 680 new coronavirus cases were registered over the past 24 hours.
According to the official, death toll from the virus rose to 257 including eight reported over the past 24 hours.
 
Six million Afghan children at risk as pandemic expands
Afghanistan Times | 2nd June
The deadly Corona virus has affected some six million children in Afghanistan with facing different vulnerabilities.
The ministry of labor and social affairs, said that more than seven million children are facing with poverty due to the virus spread.
Four million of the children have been deprived from education, while another one million are busy in hard work on the streets.
 
Afghan Govt Welcomes EU Statement on Afghanistan
Daily Outlook Afghanistan | 1st June
The Afghan government welcomed the statement issued about Afghanistan by the Council of the European Union in which the bloc reaffirmed its political commitment to Afghanistan for peace, security and self-reliance.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes a recent decision by the European Council in which the council reaffirmed its continued support to the Afghan peace process and the development of Afghanistan,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement.
 
 
 

BANGLADESH

 
Bangladesh launches app on pilot basis to detect COVID-19 patients
Prothom Alo | 5th June
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) division has launched a smart-phone based application (app) named ‘Corona Tracer BD’ on pilot basis for citizens across the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, reports news agency BSS.
State minister for ICT division Zunaid Ahmed Palak launched the app as the chief guest at an online programme, a press release said.
 
PM approves recruitment of 3,000 medical technologists-technicians
Dhaka Tribune | 5th June
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved a proposal to recruit some 3,000 medical technologists, technicians and cardiographers soon to improve the Covid-19 test and healthcare services.
They will be recruited against the new posts created for 1,200 technologists, 1,650 technicians and 150 cardiographers, UNB reports.
Thanks to the prime minister’s intervention, the long-pending proposal for appointment of huge number of medical technologists and technicians is going to be implemented.
 
Forex reserves hit $34b record
Bangladesh Post | 4th June
The foreign exchange reserves hit an all time high crossing $34 billion for the first time despite a global economic recession amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Forex reserves reached $34.23 billion till June 3 following lower import payment pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The previous highest reserves amounting to $33.68 billion was recorded on September 5, 2017.
The country’s reserves again crossed the $33 billion-mark at the end of April after almost 2 years, up about $1 billion over that of the corresponding time of the previous year, according to Bangladesh Bank (BB) data.

 
 

BHUTAN

 
Bhutanese complacent despite the spike in Covid-19 cases 
Kuensel |4th June
The recent spike in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country has done little to alarm public who have now returned to ‘business as usual’ after the initial scare.
Last month recorded 34 positive cases in returnees mainly from the Middle East, with the highest jump of 10 cases within 24 hours on May 30. Even then, it was a usual sight in Thimphu – large crowd strolling the town and the usual large traffic along the Norzin Lam and Paro town.
Worst, people who had just completed the mandatory 21-day quarantine were seen visiting other quarantine facilities.
     
 

MALDIVES

 
State expenditures on COVID-19 response reach MVR 892 million
The Edition | 2nd June
Ministry of Finance revealed that the state's total expenditure on COVID-19 response has reached MVR 892.3 million, as of May 28.
According to the ministry's 'Weekly COVID-19 Spending Report', government expenditure rose by 2.9 percent compared to the week before. Records from last week showed that government spending on COVID-19 response stood at MVR 866.9 million. In just a week’s time, government spending increased by MVR 21.15 million.
 
Government Institutes to Re-open Partially to Provide Essential Services
Maldives Times | 1st June
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided that government institutions are to be partially reopened for the duration of 31st May to 11th June, to allow them to fulfil essential tasks.
During this period working days will be limited to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Official working hours on these days will be from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. Despite the partial reopening, the general public may not physically enter any government institution’s premises to seek service.
 
28 percent of Maldivian population below poverty line: MPI
The Edition | 4th June
Maldives' national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report revealed that 28 percent of the population falls below the poverty line.
Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam officially launched the national MPI for Maldives.
The national MPI considers eight indicators categorized under three dimensions; living standard, health and, education and information. An individual is considered multidimensionally poor if they are deprived in one-third of these dimensions.


 

MYANMAR

 
 Myanmar Election Will Happen on Schedule, Says Commission
The Irrawaddy | 4th June
Following worries that Myanmar’s general election will be delayed due to COVID-19, the Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that the election will be held in November as scheduled.
At a press conference in Naypyidaw, the UEC officials said that the commission is preparing to hold the election as scheduled, as the COVID-19 situation in the country is at a controllable stage and there is time to prepare for the election.
         
Clashes break out in northern Shan despite truce
Myanmar Times | 1st June
Fighting erupted in northern Shan State between the Tatmadaw (military) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) despite the ceasefires declared by both sides.
Residents said there were no reported casualties in the fighting, which erupted on May 29 on a highway near Nant Phat Kar village in Kutkai town and lasted about five hours, temporarily halting traffic in the area.
Daw Mai Mai said the fighting, which started at 10am and ended at about 3pm, resulted in the closure of the Kutkai toll gate.
 
Myanmar Condemns Report on Illegal Teak Exports to EU
The Irrawaddy | 3rd June
 Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has disputed the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s latest report which claims illegal teak from Myanmar is being shipped to Europe through the black market.
“All the teak we export is legal,” U Kyaw Zaw Oo, the deputy permanent secretary of the ministry, told The Irrawaddy.
 
 
 

NEPAL

 
Nepal govt may declare state of public health emergency as coronavirus cases rise steadily
The Himalayan Times | 4th June
The Ministry of Health and Population is mulling over proposing to the Council of Ministers to declare state of public health emergency in the country following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Section 48 (2) of the Public Health Service Act states that if public health disaster occurs in more than one province, the Government of Nepal may declare state of public health emergency.
“Today, we discussed the possibility and necessity of declaration of public health emergency,” Gunaraj Lohani, who heads the COVID-19 Incident Command System at the MoHP, told THT.
 
Pandemic and lockdown provide veil for government to withhold information
The Kathmandu Post | 5th June
More than two months after the government imposed a lockdown in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19, officials have announced that around Rs 10 billion has been spent on combating the pandemic.
The federal government is said to have spent Rs 6.03 billion while the provincial and local governments spent Rs 1.08 billion and Rs 2.76 billion, respectively. Narayan Prasad Bidari, a secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, shared that Rs 9.87 billion has been spent so far, without giving a breakdown of the expenditure.

 


PAKISTAN

 
 After Pakistan's lockdown gamble, Covid-19 cases surge
The Express Tribune | 5th June
Four weeks ago, with its most important festival coming up and millions of people facing starvation as economic activity dwindled, Pakistan lifted a two-month-long coronavirus lockdown.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said despite rising infections and deaths, the country would need to learn to “live with” the virus to avert pushing tens of millions living on daily wages into destitution.
 
Senate panel wants Saarc to formulate joint anti-virus strategy
Dawn | 5th June
A Senate panel asked the government to convene a Saarc conference to formulate a joint strategy to effectively combat coronavirus.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior unanimously passed a resolution urging the government to call a Saarc meeting to evolve a joint anti-coronavirus strategy for a unified regional response to the pandemic.
 
Pakistan seeks Canadian, Dutch help on debt relief
The Nation | 4th June
Pakistan sought Canada and Netherlands’ help on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s debt relief plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held talks with Minister of International Development of Canada Karina Gould and Dutch Foreign Minister Staphanus Abraham Blok over video link.
In his conversation with the Canadian counterpart, Qureshi discussed the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
 


SRI LANKA

 
 Sri Lanka President appoints a Presidential Task Force to build a secure country, virtuous society
Colombo Page | 3rd June
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a 13- member Presidential Task Force headed by the Defense Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne to build a secure country and a disciplined society.
The President on June 02, 2020 issued the Extraordinary Gazette notification announcing the Presidential Directive for the establishment of a Presidential Task Force to build a Secure Country, Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society in accordance with the powers vested in him by Article 33 of the Constitution.
         
Direct returnees for quarantine Only after PCR test results are known
Daily Mirror | 5th June      
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed officials to send returnees from foreign countries for quarantine only after results of PCR tests conducted at the airport itself are known, the President’s Media Division said.   
The President has also asked to accommodate them at a separate location equipped with all necessary facilities until the test results are released.