Washington, Moscow, Kabul to discuss roadmap of peace talks
Afghanistan Times | 10th June
 
Afghanistan, Russia and the United States are set to hold a trilateral video conference in July-mid to discuss facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations, said Russian envoy for Afghanistan.
Zamir Kabulov, Moscow’s point man on the matter, said the meeting would be held on 15th of June.
“The negotiations will be held with the US special envoy for Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad and the foreign minister of Afghanistan, Mohammad Hanif Atmar,” he added.

 

Myanmar COVID-19 Recovery Plan Won't Favor China's BRI Projects, Official Says
The Irrawaddy | 11th June
 
When Myanmar announced its seven-point economic relief plan to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 in late April, one item immediately raised eyebrows among China analysts in the country. The initiative’s third main objective is stated as “Easing the Impacts on Laborers and Workers”, and one of the ways the government intends to achieve this is putting laid-off laborers and returning migrants to work on “Implementation of Labor-Intensive Community Infrastructure Projects” before the end of this year.
At first glance, it seems a worthy goal, as it aims to benefit workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Quarantine centres are turning into Covid breeding ground, National Human Rights Commission warns
The Kathmandu Post | 12th June
 
The government has completely failed to manage quarantine centres and they increase the risk of transmission of the disease rather than preventing it, the National Human Rights Commission said.
The constitutional body, in its report on the situation of human rights during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the disease, said quarantines centres that hold around 170,000 at present are turning into hotspots for the spread of the disease as the centres don’t meet minimum standards, and there haven’t been any visible effort to maintain WHO standards.

 

AFGHANISTAN

 
An Afghan delegation will travel to Doha for Intra-Afghan talks preparations: Source
The Khaama Press | 9th June
A delegation of 6 or 7 members will travel to Doha to discuss the Intra-Afghan peace talks preparations with the Taliban, a source close to the peace reconciliation members told Khaama Press.
The delegation will discuss the talks platform, structure, agenda and theme, the source said.
The source further added that the process of the Taliban prisoners identification has been completed by the Afghan government and the Intra-Afghan peace talks will kick-off after the prisoners are released.
 
Afghanistan can advance peace during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s how 
The Khaama Press | 11th June
Just weeks after the United States and the Taliban agreed to advance peacemaking in Afghanistan, that peace effort’s internal flaws—and now the COVID pandemic—pose serious obstacles. While ordinary Afghans—civilians and fighters—have shown their desperate desire for peace, the delegations named to negotiate to leave most of our people unrepresented. And as in every country, COVID now constrains our lives in unpredictable ways. Yet the representation problem can be reduced and the pandemic can be turned to serve the cause of peace.
 
Covid-19 cases surpass 22k
Afghanistan Times | 10th June
With 684 new positive cases in the last 24 hours, Afghanistan now officially recorded 22,143 coronavirus cases across the country. 21 deaths and 324 recoveries were reported during this period, counting the total dead as 405 since the spread of the virus in the society around three months ago.
The Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday said that out of 1,128 suspected samples, 684 were reported positive, calling on the residents to stay at home to help its spread.
 
 

BANGLADESH

 
Highly ambitious budget
Bangladesh Post | 11th June
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed a Tk 568,000 crore (5.68 trillion) budget for 2020-21 fiscal year in the Jatiya Sangsad, targeting an ambitious 8.2 percent GDP growth, with a comprehensive plan that includes four main strategies.
Observing that all calculations about the global economy have been turned upside down due to the heavy blow dealt by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Finance Minister said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has taken various steps to combat its fallout.
 
Budget FY21: Tk10,000 crore to combat Covid-19
Dhaka Tribune | 11th June
In a bid to meet emergency requirements over the Covid-19 pandemic, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has proposed a lump sum allocation of Tk10,000 crore in the budget for FY2020-21.
"We have taken all-out measures to improve the health sector," he said, adding that the government was already implementing schemes worth Tk5,500 crore under the Health Services Division
 
Govt trying best to mitigate unattended virus-hit people’s plight: PM Hasina
Prothom Alo | 11th June
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said her government is trying its best to mitigate the plight of the unattended people hit hard due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“There is a huge population who remain out of the attention of the society in the current situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak. But we’re trying our best to minimise their ordeal and sorrow by extending support to them in various ways,” she said.
 
 

BHUTAN

 
His Majesty appoints Chief Justice of Bhutan
Kuensel | 12th June
In a simple ceremony, His Majesty The King granted Dakyen to appoint Chogyal Dago Rigdzin as the new Chief Justice of Bhutan. Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen graced the ceremony.
Prior to this appointment, Chogyal Dago Rigdzin was serving as the Chief Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of Bhutan, having been appointed to the position in 2015. He joined the civil service in June 1990.
    
 

MALDIVES

 
Government institutes will open from June 14 to 18: President Solih
The Edition | 11th June
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, issued permits for government institutions and ministries to operate from June 14 to 18, in order to complete essential tasks.
According to the decree, government offices will not be open to the public despite being cleared to operate from 0900 hrs and 1300 hrs.
The president's decree mandates offices and institutions to notify the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and work in compliance with its specific instructions.
 
President Solih dissolves housing ministry of Maldives
Maldives Times | 11th June
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih dissolved the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, transferring its mandate over to the Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure.
With this development, the planning ministry is to be renamed Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure.
In addition to taking over the responsibilities of the now-defunct housing ministry, all staff previously employed at the dissolved ministry will be transferred to the newly reorganised planning ministry.
 
World Bank grants USD12.8 mln for Maldives' income support plan
The Edition | 11th June
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved to extend USD 12.8 million for the 'COVID-19 Emergency Income Support Project', to support the Maldivian government to mitigate the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on poor and vulnerable individuals.
According to a press release by the World Bank, the project cost comprises a USD 6.4 million grant and a USD 6.4 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries.
 
 

MYANMAR

 
Myanmar govt offers to resume talks with Arakan Army, allies
Myanmar Times | 11th June
Government negotiators offered to resume peace talks via video conference with the Arakan Army (AA) and its three allied ethnic armed groups, a member of a group helping in the negotiations said on June 9.
The AA, Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Ta'ang National Liberation Army belong to the Northern Alliance, which has not signed the government’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement but has been pressing for a separate deal.
U San Aung, spokesperson of Peace talks Creation Group, said the alliance received a government proposal to discuss a separate ceasefire agreement last week.
 
Nine years on, peace still far off in Kachin
Myanmar Times | 9th June
The armed conflict between the Tatmadaw (military) and Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the country’s second largest ethnic armed group, is far from being resolved nine years after hostilities broke out.
Tens of thousands of villagers displaced by the fighting that broke out in Kachin State on June 9, 2011, still languish in refugee camps and have largely been forgotten.
Nhkum La Sun Awng, a board member of the Naushawg Development Institute, said violence continues between the Tatmadaw and KIA despite ceasefires.

 

NEPAL

 
Foreign Minister Gyawali, EU official Borrell hold talks
The Himalayan Times | 11th June
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali held a telephone conversation with High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (EU) and Vice President of European Commission Josep Borrell.
Various matters relating to Nepal-EU relations and cooperation, particularly in the context of COVID-19, were discussed during the call.
The two sides shared their sentiments on lives lost and widespread human suffering caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and expressed solidarity in their common fight against it, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated.
 
India-Nepal border issue needs to be addressed urgently through diplomacy: INC
The Himalayan Times | 11th June
The Indian National Congress (INC) has addressed the strained relations between Nepal and India following the recent territorial dispute between the two countries.
On Wednesday, the party’s foreign affairs department issued a statement saying that the recent developments in the bilateral relations over the dispute in Kalapani-Lipulekh area, following the publication of a new map by Nepal, is a matter of National Concern.

 

PAKISTAN

 
ADB approves $500 million loan for Pakistan’s poor
The Nation | 11th June
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $500million loan to help Pakistan deliver social protection programs to the poor and vulnerable, and expand health sector capabilities.
The loan would also deliver a pro-poor fiscal stimulus to boost growth and create jobs as the country fights the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Pakistan at a critical point in its ongoing economic recovery program,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “We are fully committed to supporting Pakistan through this difficult period.
 
Smart lockdown is only option: PM Imran
Dawn | 12th June
With the novel coronavirus rapidly spreading across the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was already aware that the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths would increase with the passage of time but smart lockdown was the only option for Pakistan to deal with the disease.
The country reported 6,321 Covid-19 cases and 92 deaths during the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 123,493 and fatalities to 2,409.
 
Rs1.15 trillion taxes exempted
The Nation | 12th June
The government has given massive tax exemptions worth Rs1.15 trillion in ongoing fiscal year, which are 18.26 percent higher than the exemptions given last year.
Pakistan’s tax expenditures in the form of exemptions have been recorded at Rs1,149.95 billion during the ongoing financial year 2019-2020 as against Rs972.4 billion of the previous fiscal year 2018-19, showing an increase of over 18.26 percent, the latest Economic Survey showed.
 
 

SRI LANKA

 
Health Minister says WHO released $ 1.9 million for COVID-19 operations
Colombo Page | 12th June
The Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the statement made by the former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the television and newspapers that the World Health Organization (WHO)has given the Ministry of Health $ 230 million for COVID-19 operations is totally false.
Addressing the media, Minister Wanniarachchi said the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided approximately US$ 1.9 million for the prevention of the p COVID-1andemic 9. Sri Lanka has received US$ 466,784 from the WHO office in Sri Lanka and the balance US$ 1,468,000 from the WHO SEARO in India.
 
225 Lankans return from Philippine, Japan
Daily Mirror | 12th June
A total of 225 Sri Lankans including two naval officials who were stranded in Philippine and Japan due to COVID-19 pandemic, arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning, the Airport Duty Manager said.
He said 223 Lankan passengers arrived in the country from Manila in Philippine by a special SriLankan flight (UL 1423) at 10.30 pm last night.
“Majority of the passengers included those who went for higher educational purposes and naval officers who went there for employment at shipping agencies”, Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage said.
 
Cabinet approves Rs. 16 billion loan to provide relief for over 144,000 employees in tourism sector affected by COVID-19
Colombo Page | 11th June
The cabinet of Ministers has approved a host of measures to provide relief to 144,117 employees in the tourism sector affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation on the instructions of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa presented the proposal for the relief package to the cabinet.
Accordingly, Cabinet approval has been given to issue loans at 4 percent interest for the payment of salaries to the employees of the tourist hotels, Destination Management Companies and Travel Agents registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) by March, 2019, up to Rs. 20,000 each for six months.

 

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