Tag Archives: Covid-19

Myanmar Round Up: August 2021

It has been six months since the declaration of the military coup, protests and demonstrations have continued. During the month, week, anti-coup demonstrations were reported in Kachin and Shan states, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, and Yangon regions. The protests on 08 August referred to the “8-8-88” democracy uprising on 08 August1988, which the then-military regime crushed.

On 01 August, Senior Army General Min Aung Hlaing announced himself as the Prime Minister and pledged to hold elections by 2023. However, Ms Schraner Burgener stated that Myanmar’s Permanent Representative in New York, Kyaw Moe Tun, remains its legitimate UN Ambassador, while Ms Suu Kyi and President Myint are its leaders. Recently, international media reported a plot was uncovered to kill Ambassador Tun, who denounced the coup in the General Assembly Hall in New York.1 Ms Burgener also said the situation in Myanmar “is still very worrisome”. The third wave of COVID-19 infections has also hit the country.

Political Situation

Senior General Min Hlaing announced the formation of a caretaker government and took on the role of Prime Minister. He also announced that the elections would be held by 2023. 2 The “Provisional Government” replaces the State Administration Council (SAC) chaired by Min Hlaing that has run Myanmar since the coup. The National League for Democracy (NLD) members shadow government, National Unity Government (NUG) condemned the military ruler’s decision to take on the role of the Prime Minister in a caretaker government and said the move was designed to win legitimacy.3 Later on 03 August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed the military’s elections plan.4

Military authorities forced one of the lawyers representing Aung San Suu Kyi to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This was done to stop statements of Suu Kyi from reaching the public. Suu Kyi has a five-member defence team, out of which one was forced to sign the agreement promising not to talk to local or international media. The court hearings were postponed at the start of July as the third wave of COVID-19 infections hit the country.5 Further, columnist Sithu Aung Myint and BBC Burmese presenter Htet Htet Khine were tracked down and arrested on 15 August. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned these latest arbitrary arrests, and called for their immediate release.6

During the month, the military faced protests, strikes and a resurgence of armed conflicts. The military authorities have branded their opponents as terrorists. In the Karen state, fighting between the military and the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), known as the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), occurred on a near-daily basis in Hpa-pun Township. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said the military was responsible for all the shootings between 03 to 08 August. The KIA opposed the regime and attacked junta troops and police stations in Kachin and northern Shan states since 11 March.7

On the other hand, at least 1,130 Myanmar soldiers were killed and 443 wounded in more than 700 clashes between junta forces and local militias across the country from June 1 to July 31, Myanmar’s shadow NUG said in a report. Moreover, more than 350 civilians were killed and nearly 140 wounded during the same period.8 In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Myanmar’s UN envoy Kyaw Moe Tun — described the incidents as “clearly amounting to crimes against humanity,” calling on the UN Security Council and the international community to impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar’s military.9

During the month, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing signed an amendment to the Counterterrorism Law, introducing harsher penalties for supporting anti-regime activities. Under the amendment, the jail term is increased from three to seven years for “acts of exhortation, persuasion, propaganda and recruitment of any person to participate in any terrorist group or activities of terrorism”.10

The United League of Arakan (ULA) is advancing steadily towards its objective of assuming administrative control in Rakhine State, and has seen a high level of compliance from the state’s residents with the stay-at-home order it issued on 20 July in response to the third wave of COVID-19. The ULA has also announced that it will set up a judiciary in Rakhine State. Since the coup the ULA and its armed wing, the Arakan Army, have accelerated their effort to expand their ability to govern the state and be seen as its legitimate governing body. Further, on 05 August, it announced plans to implement household registrations throughout the state and introduction of day and night patrols as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its state’s security. The ULA has also been punishing people for flouting the stay-at-home order.11

The latest wave of COVID-19 has made the country vulnerable to a health crisis. Myanmar’s army has carried out at least 252 attacks and threats against health workers since the coup. More than 190 health workers have been arrested and 86 raids on hospitals carried out since the coup, said the report by Insecurity Insight, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and Johns Hopkins University Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR). In addition, they identified 15 incidents in which the response to the COVID-19 outbreak had been obstructed – including confiscation of personal protection equipment and oxygen supplies for the exclusive use of the army. 12

International Scenario

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) appointed Brunei’s Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy. The appointment of a special envoy is part of a five-point consensus between ASEAN and Myanmar military leader Min Aung Hlaing in April. However, the decision has invited criticism. Aaron Connelly, an analyst with International Institute for Strategic Studies, stated that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore had “pushed for tougher language”, though it was vetoed by the military representative Wunna Maung Lwin.13 ASEAN also failed to recognise NUG formed CPRH. As a result, the body was excluded from the ASEAN 42nd assembly Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Brunei. The NUG members condemned ASEAN for excluding it and inviting a military representative as an observer. In April, the NUG’s representative was not invited to ASEAN’s special summit on Myanmar. Instead, the military leader attended the meeting.14 ASEAN has to date, not recognised the NUG government and representatives.

Another international investor retreated from Myanmar and sold all its businesses to a local partner finding it challenging to operate under military rule. Australian mining company Myanmar Metals Limited (MYL) has divested its entire stake in a mining project in Myanmar’s northeast. The company stated that the political situation in Myanmar had undermined the confidence of markets. MYL disposed of its 51-percent stake in the Bawdwin project to its local partner Win Myint Mo Industries Co Ltd for a total of USD 30 million.15 However, Indian Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) have claimed that the company believes that its investment in a port in Myanmar is not in violation of any sanction guidelines issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of Treasury and therefore, continued its investments.16

Nevertheless, few countries continued to provide emergency aid. The US announced USD 50 million to support relief groups dealing with the fallout from a surge in Covid-19 cases. The US funding will aid “those forced to flee violence and persecution” as well as help groups provide healthcare services in addition to essentials such as food, shelter and water, the State Department said.17

China has continued to provide its support by entering into agreements and helping the country via vaccines. China will transfer around USD 6 million to Myanmar’s government to fund 21 development projects. A Myanmar Foreign Ministry statement said the funds would be transferred from China for projects within the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation framework. It said those included animal vaccines, culture, agriculture, science, tourism, and disaster prevention.18 Since the military coup, the mining of rare-earth metals has increased in the Kachin state. Multiple sources told Frontier and Danwatch, a Danish investigative outlet that collaborated on this investigation, that the rare earth mining in Kachin is extracted illegally by Chinese or Chinese-backed companies in areas of Chipwi Township under the de facto control of an armed group and militia led by Kachin warlord Zahkung Ting Ying.19

The two countries, China and Myanmar also faced issues due to increased incidents in the bordering area with China. The Chinese authorities have sent a complaint letter to the Myanmar military demanding an investigation. In the letter, Chinese authorities said they were highly concerned about the recent incidents, describing them as breaches of the China-Myanmar border agreement. China also warned the incident repeats, it would “make the necessary response”. Moreover, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar Ambassador U Myo Thant Pe on 05 August and urged the regime to stop immediately fighting in border areas. In response, the regime claimed the artillery shell and bullets were fired by the MNDAA. The military rather stated that the military would attack armed groups that threatened the lives of people and the stability of the border areas. It urged China to collaborate with the Myanmar military to fight against armed groups and prevent them from occupying bases in border areas.20

India Myanmar Engagements

On 10 August, few members of the Manipur extremist group, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), were killed in a factional fight in Myanmar. The incident occurred near the Nanyang Wakathan camp of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang-Yung Aung) in the Sagaing region of Myanmar. According to intelligence officials, tensions rose because the Myanmar military was forced to either pay for lying low in the country or join the soldiers in fighting the pro-democracy forces. Moreover, the PLA cadre, short of money was also being pressured to fight the People’s Defence Force, the armed wing of Myanmar’s NUG in exile.21

On the other hand, Myanmar has conveyed its apprehension over the deployment of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) for the completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport (KMTT) project, the Union government informed the parliamentary committee on home affairs.22

In a successful operation, Assam Rifles recovered a huge cache of arms, ammunition and other war-like stores in Mizoram’s southernmost Lawngtlai district near the Indo-Myanmar border. The operation was carried out jointly by Assam Rifles troopers posted at Zorinpui, the southern tip of Mizoram on the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) road and state police from Bungtlang. However, no person was arrested in connection with the recoveries. In another major achievement, Assam Rifles and Customs department also seized 502 cases of smuggled foreign cigarettes on Ruantlang and Kelkang- Khaungleng road in Champhai district near the Myanmar border during a joint operation.23

The issue of Rohingya was again raised in Lok Sabha. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, informed that Rohingya Muslim migrants indulge in illegal activities for which the respective governments have been asked to take action. Rai also said that instructions had been issued to capture their biographic and biometric particulars and cancel fake Indian documents. Furthermore, steps have been taken to initiate deportation proceedings under provisions of law.24

Rohingya Crises

As the Rohingya crisis enters its fifth year, it is essential to reflect on the dismal situation of the refugees living and their continued repression. For the first time in five years, Rohingya refugees expelled from Myanmar testified in court on 17 August. According to activist group Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, five survivors of sexual violence testified to the Federal Criminal Appeal Court in Buenos Aires remotely from refugee camps in Bangladesh, according. However, the details of it were not shared.25

Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya since military crackdowns in 2017. Recently, World Bank initiated talks with Bangladesh to integrate Rohingya into the Bangladesh community. However, Bangladesh was against any long-term programme by the World Bank (WB) to integrate Rohingya into Bangladesh. Bangladesh has raised concerns as it faces problems of drug dealing, illegal human trafficking, prostitution, expansion of illegal markets. Also, serious damage to resources, lands, deforestation is now common in Chittagong. Bangladesh also claimed that such proposals hamper the initiatives taken by Bangladesh for Rohingya repatriation.26

Despite the NUG unveiling plans to amend the country’s constitution, and give citizenship to the Rohingya, the authorities in Myanmar currently have no plan to include minority Rohingya Muslims living in camps as they begin vaccinating priority groups against COVID-19 in western Rakhine State. Local administrator Kyaw Lwin told Reuters from Sittwe township that the rollout had begun with 10,000 vaccinations for priority groups such as the elderly, healthcare workers, government staff and Buddhist monks. However, he said there were no current plans for vaccinating any Muslims living in camps in Sittwe. Following an outcry from the human rights group, the Myanmar military backtracked on its plans to withhold Covid-19 vaccinations from the Rohingya minority in Rakhine. Instead, the military’s spokesman said in a news conference on 27 August that vaccinations will be offered to Rohingya in Rakhine.

The Way Forward

The fighting between Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups increased in August and is expected to intensify in the coming days as the military has sent reinforcements to rebel-held territories. The military has asked its unit commanders and other senior officers to be combat ready in a recent order. On the other hand, around 1500 soldiers have defected from Myanmar’s military since the coup and have joined the troops created by the political opposition to fight the military. The number of vulnerable refugees has increased. It is time to bring all stakeholders to the table and resolve the current crisis. Furthermore, it is important to cease all attacks from the side of the military and gain the trust of the citizens.

Endnotes
  1. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1097452
  2. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/fears-of-another-long-dictatorship-as-myanmar-coup-maker-appoints-himself-pm.html
  3. https://www.euronews.com/2021/08/03/us-myanmar-politics
  4. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/us-dismisses-myanmar-juntas-election-plan.html
  5. https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/suu-kyis-lawyer-forced-to-sign-pledge-not-to-speak-to-the-media
  6. https://rsf.org/en/news/two-more-journalists-arrested-myanmars-military-junta-0
  7. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-shells-kachin-civilians.html
  8. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/killed-08132021181109.html
  9. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/06/asia/myanmar-bodies-found-army-crackdown-intl-hnk/index.html
  10. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-coup-chief-amends-counterterrorism-law.html
  11. https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/arakan-army-extends-administrative-grip-on-rakhine-state/
  12. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-army-attacks-medics-hampering-covid-response-rights-groups-say-2021-08-10/
  13. https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3143809/asean-appoints-brunei-diplomat-erywan-yusof-envoy-myanmar
  14. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-ousted-mps-condemn-asean-for-inviting-junta-to-parliamentary-summit.html
  15. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/australian-mining-company-sells-stake-in-myanmar-project.html
  16. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/australian-mining-company-sells-stake-in-myanmar-project.html
  17. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/beijing-to-transfer-82m-to-myanmar-junta-to-fund-development-projects
  18. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/beijing-to-transfer-82m-to-myanmar-junta-to-fund-development-projects
  19. https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/weapons-power-and-money-how-rare-earth-mining-in-kachin-enriches-a-tatmadaw-ally/
  20. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-complains-after-shell-gunfire-from-myanmar-hit-border-town.html
  21. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/six-of-manipur-extremist-group-killed-in-myanmar-say-officials/article35872422.ece
  22. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/myanmar-objects-to-bro-presence-in-trilateral-road-project/articleshow/85282213.cms
  23. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/mizoram/mizoram-security-forces-recover-arms-and-ammunition-from-lawngtlai-near-india-myanmar-border.html
  24. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-says-rohingyas-indulging-in-illegal-activities-101628601441879.html
  25. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/rohingya-to-give-first-testimony-in-push-for-myanmar-army-probe
  26. WB has undertaken a long-term program for 16 countries hosting refugees and they will provide money from a Tk2,000 ( Bangladesh Taka) crore fund. https://www.eurasiareview.com/04082021-world-banks-proposal-local-integration-of-rohingyas-in-bangladesh-possible-oped/
  27. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-covid-vaccination-rollout-leaves-rohingya-waiting-2021-08-11/
  28. https://www.ucanews.com/news/rohingya-receive-covid-jabs-as-myanmar-junta-extends-rollout/93922#
  29. https://www.laprensalatina.com/some-1500-soldiers-have-deserted-myanmar-army-since-coup-media/

VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 01-15 June 2021

I. UNITED STATES

Politics and Society
U.S. Formally Ends Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy, 1 June 2021

The United States has formally ended the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” policy, which forced tens of thousands of Central American asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court cases, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo sent to agency leaders. The administration of President Joe Biden paused the program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), shortly after he took office on Jan. 20. Since then, more than 11,000 migrants enrolled in it have been allowed to enter the United States to pursue asylum claims.
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Ransomware Disrupts Meat Plants in Latest Attack on Critical U.S. Business, 1 June 2021

A cyber attack on the world’s largest meat processor has forced the shutdown of nine beef plants in the United States, according to union officials, and disrupted production at poultry and pork plants. The attack could upset the nation’s meat markets and raises new questions about the vulnerability of critical American businesses. The company, JBS, said the majority of its plants would reopen on in a day. But even one day’s disruption at JBS could “significantly impact” wholesale beef prices, according to analysts at Daily Livestock Report. The cyberattack is attributed to Russian hackers.
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Biden pushes for US voting rights law as restrictions mount, 2 June 2021

President Joe Biden used the 100th anniversary of Tulsa’s race massacre to make a plea for sweeping legislation in Congress to protect the right to vote as Republican-led governments in Texas and other states pass new restrictions making it tougher to cast ballots.
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Biden suspends oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic refuge, 2 June 2021

The Biden administration has suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a drilling program approved by the Trump administration and reviving a political fight over a remote region that is home to polar bears and other wildlife — and a rich reserve of oil.

The order by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland follows a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order suggested a new environmental review was needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration under a 2017 law enacted by Congress.
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US to Swiftly Boost Global Vaccine Sharing, Biden Announces, 3 June 2021

President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. will swiftly donate an initial allotment of 25 million doses of surplus vaccine overseas through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, promising infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and others at a time of glaring shortages abroad and more than ample supplies at home. Of the first 19 million donated through COVAX, approximately 6 million doses will go to South and Central America, 7 million to Asia and 5 million to Africa. Click here to read…

US pullout from Afghanistan half done, but questions remain, 8 June 2021

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is more than half done, and U.S. officials say that while it could be completed by July 4, the final exit of equipment and troops more likely will be later in the summer.
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Senate approves sprawling $250 billion bill to curtail China’s economic and military ambitions, 9 June 2021

The Senate voted has voted to adopt an approximately $250 billion bill to counter China’s growing economic and military prowess. The proposal commits billions of dollars in federal funds across a wide array of research areas. It pours more than $50 billion in immediate funding into U.S. businesses that manufacture the sort of ultrasmall, in-demand computer chips that power consumer and military devices, which many companies source from China. And it paves the way for the next generation of space exploration at a time when Washington and Beijing are increasingly setting their eyes on the stars. lawmakers also approved a host of proposals that seek to limit China’s economic aspirations and curb its political influence. The bill opens the door for new sanctions targeting Beijing over its human rights practices, commissions a new study about the origin of the coronavirus and calls for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. It even authorizes $300 million specifically to counter the political influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
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Biden opens overseas trip declaring ‘United States is back’, 10 June 2021

President Joe Biden opened the first overseas trip of his term Wednesday with a declaration that “the United States is back” as he seeks to reassert the nation on the world stage and steady European allies deeply shaken by his predecessor. Biden has set the stakes for his eight-day trip in sweeping terms, believing the West must publicly demonstrate it can compete economically with China as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
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US closes Trump-era office for victims of immigrant crime, 12 June 2021

The Biden administration has dismantled a Trump-era government office to help victims of crimes committed by immigrants. This symbolises an effort to not link the immigrants with crime. President Trump had created the Victim of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, known by its acronym VOICE, by executive order during his first week in office in January 2017. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it was replacing VOICE with a “more comprehensive and inclusive victim support system” – the Victims Engagement and Services Line.
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Biden, working with U.S. allies, pledges to confront China and Russia, 13 June 2021

President Joe Biden vowed that the U.S. would once again work alongside its democratic allies to fight autocratic governments, singling out both Russia and China for aggressive behaviour at a news conference following the G-7 meeting of world leaders. He spoke about his commitment to reengage America on the world stage after four years of Donald Trump’s “America First” policies.
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Some US allies near Russia are wary of Biden-Putin summit, 14 June 2021

Central and Eastern European nations are anxious about the coming summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wary of what they see as hostile intentions from the Kremlin.Some in the countries that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact during the Cold War worry that Washington could scale down support for its allies in the region in a bid to secure a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.
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Health and Technology
President Biden Announces Historic Vaccine Donation: Half a Billion Pfizer Vaccines to the World’s Lowest-Income Nations, 10 June 2021

The U.S. has committed to donating 500 million life-saving vaccines by June next year, including 200 million to be delivered by the end of 2021. Donation will serve as the foundation for a coordinated effort by the world’s democracies to vaccinate people around the world.
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Biden drops Trump attempt to ban TikTok, WeChat; orders new review, 10 June 2021

President Joe Biden on Wednesday withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of WeChat and TikTok, and ordered a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps and others.
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US lawmakers introduce bills targeting Big Tech, 12 June 2021

US lawmakers have introduced five bills aimed at limiting the power held by Big Tech companies. The bills were drafted after a 16-month investigation into the powers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. They address topics including data, mergers, and the competitive behaviour of these companies – which could ultimately lead to them being forced to sell some assets. But there is not unanimous support for the bills targeting Big Tech.
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Novavax: Large study finds COVID-19 shot about 90% effective, 14 June 2021

Vaccine maker Novavax has noted that its COVID-19 shot was highly effective against the disease and also protected against variants in a large study in the U.S. and Mexico, potentially offering the world yet another weapon against the virus at a time when developing countries are desperate for doses. The two-shot vaccine was about 90% effective overall, and preliminary data showed it was safe, the American company said. That would put the vaccine about on par with Pfizer’s and Moderna’s.
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Economy
The U.S. Economy Is Sending Confusing Signals. What’s Going On? 3 June 2021

Unemployment is still high, but companies are complaining they can’t find enough workers. Prices are shooting up for some goods and services, but not for others. Supply-chain bottlenecks are making it hard for homebuilders, automakers and other manufacturers to get the materials they need to ramp up production. A variety of indicators that normally move more or less together are right now telling vastly different stories about the state of the economy.
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Perspective
Decoding the NATO summit, 14 June 2021

In the summit communique, NATO members stopped short of labelling China a threat, but did little else to conceal their concerns, referencing “systemic competition from assertive and authoritarian powers.” The allies criticized Russia directly, saying it has “intensified its hybrid actions against NATO Allies and partners, including through proxies.”
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Biden-Putin summit: Ukraine should not expect miracles, 1 June 2021

Ukraine is set to be high on the agenda when US President Joe Biden holds a hotly-anticipated summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on June 16. However, there is little reason to expect any breakthroughs towards ending the Kremlin’s seven-year campaign of aggression against Ukraine. Instead, the meeting will likely highlight the need for Ukrainian policymakers to bolster the country’s own defensive capabilities and strengthen Kyiv’s international position.
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II. EUROPE

Politics and Society
Brussels unveils plans to reform borderless Schengen Area, 2 June 2021

With the aim of preparing the Schengen area for the post-COVID era and making it “stronger and more resilient”, the Commission has unveiled a new strategy centred on three pillars: external borders, internal measures and governance. The plan comes as European economies reopen after lifting coronavirus restrictions and cross-border travel gradually normalises. Schengen’s integrity has been severely damaged by two recent crises: the 2015 influx of migrants and refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic. Both episodes saw many EU countries reintroduce border checks, arguing the extraordinary circumstances required extraordinary measures.
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France’s New Caledonia set for final independence referendum in December, 2 June 2021

The French Pacific Island of New Caledonia, which rejected independence in two previous referendums, will have a third and final vote on 12 December, France’s overseas territories minister said. The referendum would be followed by a two-year transition period to allow Paris to clarify its relations with New Caledonia, minister Sebastien Lecornu said. New Caledonia, which houses business operations for Brazilian multinational mining company Vale and French mining group Eramet, has been hit by riots in recent months.
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EU to impose new sanctions on Myanmar junta, companies, 3 June 2021

The European Union will impose a new round of sanctions on Myanmar’s military junta and its economic interests in the coming days, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told Reuters.
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G7: Germany urges vaccine solidarity, 3 June 2021

German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday urged COVID-19 vaccine producers to step up alliances with manufacturers in developing countries. His remarks came ahead of a meeting of G7 health ministers in Britain amid increasing calls for wealthy countries to share COVID-19 vaccines with lower-income nations. Spahn also reiterated Germany’s support for financing the COVAX vaccine sharing program.
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The EU Bans Belarus Airlines and Reroutes Flights Around Its Airspace, 4 June 2021

European and U.S. governments have been engaged in an apparent tit for tat with Belarus and Lukashenko’s government following the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich by the Belarusian government last month in which it forced the plane he was aboard to land in Minsk. European Union ambassadors have approved a plan to ban Belarus airlines from flying over EU territory or landing in EU airports. European Union airlines will be prohibited from flying over Belarus as well. That affects about 400 civilian flights that usually fly over Belarus every day, according to European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol. That includes 300 overflights, about 100 operated by EU or British carriers.
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Resisting patent waiver, EU submits vaccine plan to WTO, 5 June 2021

The European Union has submitted a plan to the World Trade Organization that it believes will more effectively broaden the supply of COVID-19 vaccines than the intellectual property (IP) rights waiver backed by the United States.India, South Africa and dozens of developing countries are demanding the waiver to address what they say is a “staggering inequity” in access to vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments.
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The EU is planning to end U.S. tariff battle with Biden due in Brussels next week, 9 June 2021
The European Union wants the United States to commit to end their aircraft-related tariffs next week, according to a draft statement seen by CNBC, as both sides look to get the transatlantic relationship back on track. The EU is also hoping that President Joe Biden, who is due in Brussels for a summit early next week, will vow to end steel and aluminium duties before December this year, according to the document from the EU.
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MEPs back action against European Commission over Poland and Hungary, 10 June 2021

MEPs have backed legal proceedings by the European parliament against the European Commission over a failure to trigger financial sanctions against Poland and Hungary for undermining the rule of law. The parliament’s legal service is now expected to prepare a case to be lodged at the European court of justice later this year, pitting two EU institutions against each other in the EU’s highest court, with only the formality of approval by key committees of the chamber now required.
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UK, EU seeking “radical” solutions to N. Ireland trade, 11 June 2021
Britain is working with the European Union to urgently find radical proposals that would solve the post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said. The two sides are at loggerheads over how to ease post-Brexit trade between Britain and its province of Northern Ireland, with both accusing the other of dealing with part of their divorce deal called the protocol in bad faith.
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The EU-US summit, 15 June 2021

The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.
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Canada, EU form raw materials pact to cut reliance on China, 15 June 2021

Canada and the EU launched a new partnership to secure supply chains for critical minerals and reduce dependence on China in a push for jobs and to counter climate change. “With EU partners, we talked about what we can do to build a cleaner economy for years to come,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday after meeting with EU chiefs in Brussels. “To begin with, in order to continue creating good, green jobs for the middle class, we must secure supply chains for critical minerals and metals that are essential for things like electric car batteries.”
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U.S. and EU resolve 17-year Boeing-Airbus trade dispute, 15 June 2021

The United States and European Union have resolved a 17-year-long fight over aircraft subsidies, agreeing to suspend tariffs for five years stemming from the Boeing-Airbus dispute. “This meeting has started with a breakthrough on aircraft,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who met with President Joe Biden at a U.S.-EU summit in Brussels. “This really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft -after 17 years of dispute.”
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EU-China investment deal is still possible-but not before 2023, analyst says, 15 June 2021

An investment pact between the European Union and China is still possible, but both sides may wait until 2023 at the earliest to ratify the deal, said an analyst from risk consultancy Eurasia Group. The EU and China agreed on the deal in December after seven years of negotiations. But tensions between the two-which saw both sides imposing sanctions on each other-led the European Parliament to freeze the deal until Beijing lifts sanctions on EU politicians.
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Economy

EU reaches deal on tax transparency for multinational firms, 2 June 2021

European Union government and parliament negotiators have reached a deal on rules that will force large multinational companies to disclose how much revenue and tax they pay in the 27-nation bloc and how much in countries considered tax havens by the EU.
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The hurdles to German investments in India, 2 June 2021

Germany is the seventh largest FDI provider in India since April 2000. The fast-track mechanism of problem resolution, however beneficial, has not led to a quantum leap in German investments. First, inter-governmental collaboration led to an increasing support for India’s development through governmental funding. However, Germany does not tie its ODA to its enterprises, unlike Japan, whose companies use ODA projects to create business in India. This is detrimental to converting ODA projects into greater trade and FDI into India. Secondly, large old German companies such as Siemens, Bosch, Bayer and Daimler have been in India for more than a century, reinvesting profits more than bringing in new FDI. There is also a regional dimension to this lack of diversification. There is also the problem of the lack of a bilateral investment treaty.
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Europe’s social peace requires a return to fiscal discipline, 2 June 2021

“In the long run we are all dead,” wrote John Maynard Keynes 98 years ago. He believed short-term economic intervention was necessary in times of crisis to stabilise the economy. New stimulus programmes, including the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund, are in line with this tradition. I was in favour from the outset — to the surprise of some people”, writes Wolfgang Schäuble-president of the Bundestag and a former German finance minister.
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Perspective
As the EU debates rules for its economy, a more ambitious political vision is inevitable, 3 June 2021

Ayear ago, the European Union arrived at a Hamiltonian moment. The sense of human solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deaths it was causing pushed European leaders to make unprecedented choices. The heart attack suffered by the economy justified a surge of concrete and mutual support. To manifest it, fiscal rules constraining member states’ social expenditures were suspended and a sizable and shared EU financial facility was established through the issuance of common debt. Europeans seemed ready to follow in the footsteps of the agreement engineered in 1790 by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton that transformed the United States into a true federation with a stronger central government.
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III. RUSSIA

Politics and Society
Putin highlights relations with ex-Soviet nations as Russia’s foreign policy priority, 1 June 2021

Relations with former Soviet countries are among Moscow’s foreign policy priorities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a video conference meeting with the permanent members of the country’s Security Council. “Relations with our closest neighbours, the former Soviet countries, are among Russia’s most important foreign policy priorities,” the president pointed out.
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Russia is ready supply at least 40 mln tonnes of coking coal to India, 1 June 2021

India asked Russia to supply at least 40 mln tonnes of coking coal annually and Russia is ready to provide this volume, Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told reporters on the sidelines of the Russian Coal and Mining exhibition. “We have prepared a draft memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Steel Industry of India. While preparing this document, we held several meetings via videoconferencing because of the pandemic and our Indian partners said, that they would like to purchase at least 40 mln tonnes of coking coal from Russia.
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President’s meeting with heads of international news agencies, 4 June 2021

On the sidelines of the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin met by videoconference with the heads of the world’s leading news agencies.
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First line of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline now laid – Putin, 4 June 2021

The pipes for the first line of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline have now been laid, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “I am pleased to announce that today, 2.5 hours ago, the laying of pipes for the first line of the gas pipeline was successfully completed,” he said.
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Putin signs law denouncing Open Skies Treaty, 7 June 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on Russia’s denunciation of the Treaty on Open Skies. The document was published on the official web portal for legal information. The law denouncing the Treaty on Open Skies was unanimously adopted by the State Duma on May 19 and approved by the Federation Council on June 2. Moscow has said that its denunciation of the treaty is connected to the United States’ own withdrawal from the treaty.
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The Foreign Ministry on about the expectations from the meeting between Putin and Biden, 8 June 2021

A number of issues related to the organization of the summit of Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden are at an advanced stage of development, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Russia hopes that the result of the meeting between the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, will fix the movement forward in the field of strategic stability and stabilize relations with the United States, he added.
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Full transcript of exclusive Putin interview with NBC News’ Keir Simmons, 14 June 2021

NBC News interview with Russian President Vladimir Putintook place in Moscow on June 11, 2021; NBC’s Keir Simmons posed several questions on Russia’s view on global and regional developments in the days leading to the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva.
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Erdogan sticks to his position on Russian missile deal after meeting with Biden, 14 June 2021

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave no indication that Ankara’s deal with Moscow for the S-400 missile system, which triggered U.S. sanctions on the NATO ally, would be reversed. Erdogan’s comments came on the heels of his first face-to-face bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO leaders’ summit.
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Russia ready to reciprocally transfer US convicts, Whelan not among them – diplomat, 15 June 2021

Russia is ready to hand over US citizens, convicted in Russia, via the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons mechanism; however, US citizen Paul Whelan, convicted in Russia for espionage is not among them, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
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Health and Economy
CoviVac vaccine efficacy tentatively estimated at over 80% – developer, 2 June 2021

The efficacy of the CoviVac coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chumakov Center exceeds 80%, however, the final stage of clinical trials is still ongoing, the Chumakov Center said in a material presented at the stand of the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
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Russian GDP growth in April tops 10%, Econ Ministry could revise annual forecast in June – minister, 3 June 2021

Russian annual GDP growth in April exceeded 10% compared to the decline in April of last year, the recovery of the economy is slightly ahead of expectations, and the annual forecast for 2021 could be revised in July, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov told reporters on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
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Gazprom Neft considers Arctic development relevant; oil prices and tax regime facilitate this, 15 June 2021

The current oil price environment, the tax regime for Arctic projects in Russia, and Gazprom Neft’s portfolio of shelf assets allow the company to consider development of the Arctic shelf as relevant, in connection with which dialog with the state on supporting geological exploration on the shelf is necessary, Deputy CEO for Upstream Vadim Yakovlev told reporters. “The tax regime [in the Arctic] creates good stimuli for projects at the production stage. This is primarily a lower rate of mineral extraction tax. At the same time, such projects are characterized by a very long investment cycle from the stage of seeking an estimate, geological exploration to commissioning. For this, we believe stimuli need to be created at the geological exploration state too, so that this part of the country’s resource potential also gets the opportunity for development,” Yakovlev.
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Perspective
Will Russia Put China’s Arctic Ambitions on Ice? 5 June 2021

Despite its enthusiasm, China’s efforts to become a key voice in Arctic affairs have been met with skepticism, even alarm by Arctic states, and few of its investment initiatives have borne fruit. Are China’s fortunes turning with strategic partner Russia assuming the role of chair of the Arctic Council, a two-year rotating position? For China, an observer in the organization since 2013, Russia’s new status as of May 20, 2021 provides opportunities as well as risks.
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Russia-US Summit: Global Is More Important than Bilateral, 15 June 2021

The most positive expectations from the upcoming Russia-US summit are associated with the fact that neither side is approaching it from the position of maintaining peace and improving relations at any cost. Unlike a number of contacts of this level in the past, now Moscow and Washington are not ready, and do not seek, to compromise their principles in order to make their own lives calmer and more comfortable, and those around them – more confident in their future. The maximum diplomatic achievements of the summit (one can expect, for example, the return of the ambassadors to both countries) will not change the nature of the relationship.
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VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: August 31, 2021

Afghanistan
US officially ends its longest every military engagement, Taliban celebrated with aerial fires: The Khaama Press

US CENTCOM commander General Frank McKenzie in a press conference confirmed the end of their military presence in Afghanistan and said that the last flight carrying the last US servicemen and women left Kabul on Monday night, August 30.
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Afghans With Evacuation Documents Still in Kabul: Tolo News

Although the United States has started evacuating its soldiers from Kabul airport, hundreds of Afghans with legal documents for evacuation have been unable to board and leave the country. All the US soldiers are expected to leave Kabul airport by August 31.
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Taliban launches attacks on resistance forces in Panjshir: The Khaama Press

Sources in Pansjhir province claimed that the Taliban breached the agreement and had launched attacks on the resistance forces of this province.They claimed that the attacks which were conducted in different locations were repelled and the Taliban fighters retreated but the latter has not commented on the issue yet.
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France, Britain to Propose ‘Safe Zone’ in Kabul at UNSC Meeting: Tolo News

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the proposal for the creation of a safe zone is aimed to allow humanitarian assistance and safe passage for people trying to leave Afghanistan. According to Macron, the safe zone will operate under the oversight of the United Nations.
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Taliban to complete cabinet in two weeks: The Khaama Press

Acting minister of information and culture and spokesperson of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zabiullah Mujahid said that police chiefs for all the 34 provinces have been appointed and the entire cabinet is to take shape sooner. Prior to that, a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team in Doha Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai had said that all the posts have been occupied temporarily and are given to acting ministers, heads, chiefs, and provincials governors.
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Bangladesh
Janmastami celebrated in Netrakona- The Independent

Janmastami, one of the major religious festivals of the Hindu community marking the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna, was celebrated here Monday with due religious fervour on a limited scale amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Abducted Abroad: Desperations of father trying to free son in Iraq- The Daily Star

As soon as he opened the message, he saw his son 22-year-old Abdullah Haque Rabbi, an expatriate in Iraq, lying on a floor with his hands and legs in shackles. Rabbi looked extremely weak, he was begging for water. Badal told the abductors that he did not have the money but he could manage around Tk 5 lakh, to which the abductors agreed.
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233 dengue patients admitted to hospitals in 24 hours: DGHS- The Independent

The cases of Dengue have taken over Bangladesh. In the month of August alone, the cases have increased drastically. A total of 233 fresh dengue cases were reported across the country in the last 24 hours.
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Unskilled masters, illegal vessels blamed for accidents in Bangladesh- New Age

Fatal waterway accidents have been frequent since the beginning of the current year while some of the probe reports on major incidents mostly blamed the unskilled and untrained masters and unregistered vessels as major reasons behind these accidents.
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20 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine to arrive in Dhaka tonight- Daily Sun

Twenty lakh doses of Sinophamrm vaccine from China are expected to reach Dhaka tonight, reports our correspondent. A flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying vaccine doses will land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
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BNP continues ill-efforts to destabilise country: Quader- Daily Sun

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Monday said that the BNP depending on parasitic movement has continued its various ill-efforts to disrupt the existing stable condition of the country.
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Sri Lanka set to get another $100m from Bangladesh under swap arrangement- Financial Express

Bangladesh is set to send US$100 million more to Sri Lanka today (Monday) to help the island nation in minimising foreign-exchange crunch on their economy, officials said.
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Bhutan
Fighting Covid-19 strong and tight- Kuensel

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has said that with no new cases from the communities for the last two weeks and a successful vaccination campaign, which is underway, the government could expect some relaxation of Covid-19 protocols.
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Newly elected office bearers to pursue BCCI’s legal status- Kuensel

The newly elected president and vice presidents of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) have pledged to strengthen the organisation and pursue its legal status, which has impeded its growth.
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Bhutan exploring third dose by next year- The Bhutanese

As Israel started giving booster or third doses for COVID-19 to those above 40 and school teachers and the USA announced it would start giving third doses from 20th September 2021, the government is exploring the possibility of giving third doses to Bhutanese by next year.
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The Significance of Jaldhaka Hydro Power Project in Bhutan- India Partnership- Kuensel

The cooperation in the hydropower sector is full of opportunities and has been recognized by both Bhutan and India as being mutually beneficial.
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Maldives
Hopes of expanding tourism in the south and the north: MITDC – Avas

Speaking on AVAS Online’s Face To Face program, Managing Director of MITDC Mohamed Raaid said 79 percent of the Maldives’ bed capacity is within two-hour distance from capital Male’. This shows a lot of effort needs to be undertaken to develop tourism in the north and the south, said Raaid. Therefore, MITDC aims to offer assistance to expand tourism to these areas, he said.
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17 islands currently under Covid-19 monitoring – Raajje

Health protection Agency (HPA) declared that a total of 17 islands are currently under monitoring due to Covid-19. According to the information publicized by HPA, the 17 islands under quarantine are R. Dhuvaafaru, K. Kaashidhoo, Dh. Kudahuvadhoo, Aa. Himandhoo, ADh. Hanyaameedhoo, Ha. Ihavandhoo, Ga. Kanduhulhudhoo, M. Madduvvari, K. Gaafaru, Gn. Fuvahmulah, GDh. Gadhdhoo, GDh. Madaveli, Th. Veymandoo, L. Mundoo, Sh. Milandhoo and ADh. Mahibadhoo.
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Saudi ministry official meets Muslim scholars in Maldives – Arab News

Undersecretary at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Awad Alanzi, met with preachers and scholars in the Maldives in the presence of the religious attache at the Kingdom’s embassy in India, Sheikh Badr bin Nasser Alanzi, who supervises the work of the ministry’s preachers in the Maldives and Nepal.
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Maldives Refloats Grounded Bulker, Demands Deposit of $6.5M for Damage – Maritime Executive

Salvage teams working in the Maldives were able to refloat a Navios Maritime Holdings’ bulker that went aground 10 days ago. The vessel, however, remains at anchor while it is being inspected and the Maldives is detaining the Panama-flagged vessel demanding compensation from the owners for damages caused to the reef. The authorities in the Maldives are also making accusations against the captain. In addition to holding the ship responsible for damages caused to the reef, they contend that the captain acted improperly and failed to notify the coast guard of possible danger
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Panama-flagged cargo ship refloated earlier than expected – Raajje

The Panamanian cargo boat that ran aground on to the reefs on the west side of K. Rasfari, has been refloated. The Panamanian boat ‘Navios Amaryllis’ crashed into the reefs of Rasfari on August 19 and the work of dredging the boat commenced that very day. MNDF affirmed that the dredging work had been completed by Sunday afternoon, with the support of Maldives Coast Guard and other relevant bodies.
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Myanmar
The Fall of Afghanistan Echoes in Myanmar – The Diplomat

The spectacular fall of the U.S.-supported Afghan state to the Taliban has sent shockwaves across the globe. On the surface, there is little to link Afghanistan to Myanmar beyond opium production, their similar-sized land mass, and the two nations’ immense suffering due to unending conflict. Yet there has been a flurry of online activity as Myanmar commentators and netizens have conjured up parallels between recent developments in Afghanistan and Myanmar’s own political crisis.
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Atrocious Myanmar Military at Risk of Splitting: Army Defectors – The Irrawaddy

With a record-breaking number of defections unmatched in nearly six decades and brewing discontent among the ranks against their superiors, Myanmar’s more than 300,000-strong military is now at risk of splitting, according to some ex-army officers who have deserted their units recently.
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Authorities arrest people supporting financial assistance to CDMs and PDFs in Ygn Region – Eleven Myanmar

On August 21, security forces raided a house on Court Road in Mingalar Ward, Taikkyi Township and arrested Khin Myat Thu (former NLD Pyithu Hluttaw member), Htein Win, Aye Min Soe, Aye Thuzar and Zaw Lin. After interrogating Htein, the security forces went to an apartment in Min Ye Kyaw Swar Street, Kyipwaryay Ward, Thingangyun Township on August 22 and 35 hand-made stun grenades, 28 hand-made smoke mines, a small package of hand-made explosive, other accessories used to make hand-made grenades and a vignette printed Letpadan GTI students’ protest were found and confiscated, it said.
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Protest drove a generation to Myanmar’s streets – Reuters

Nearly seven months after the army seized power on Feb. 1, Myanmar’s security forces have killed more than 1,000 people in a bid to crush resistance, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an activist group that has tracked arrests and deaths. Almost daily, the association’s death tally rises.
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ULA/AA Justice Department receives many complaints after declaring parallel legal system – BNI Online

The Justice Department of the United League of Arakan (ULA), the political wing of the Arakan Army (AA), has received many complaints regarding legal disputes and is working to bring justice to the people, according to ULA/AA spokesperson U Khaing Thukha. “There are many cases filed to the ULA/AA. The ULA’s Justice Department scrutinises them to bring justice to the people,” said U Khaing Thukha.
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100,000 Rakhine Conflict Refugees Remain Displaced Nine Months After Truce with Myanmar Army – RFA

Nine months after a ceasefire brought relative calm to Myanmar’s western Rakhine state following a bitter two-year military conflict, Oo Thein Lwin and Ma Saw Yin are still trapped in a refugee camp, recalling when they grew their own food and found regular work in their village.
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KNLA Captures Tatmadaw Camp In Karen State – BNI Online

Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) seized a Tatmadaw position after soldiers fled when KNLA Brigade 6 troops attacked the camp in Karen State. “The Border Guard Force (BGF) retreated, allowing the KNLA to easily captured Hkok Kwa camp,” a man who did not want to be named informed NMG.
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Rohingya receive Covid jabs as Myanmar junta extends rollout – UCA News
The Myanmar junta has backtracked on its plans to withhold Covid-19 vaccinations from the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state following an outcry from rights groups. More than 120,000 Rohingya have been confined in camps for the internally displaced in the western state since 2012. Coronavirus cases have been reported in the camps, where they are restricted from freedom of movement and have limited access to health care, education and employment opportunities.
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Burma’s monks divided over military’s coup – Arkansasonline

Day after day, despite a raging pandemic and the threat of sniper bullets, a small band of Buddhist monks in burgundy robes gathers in the city of Mandalay in Burma. Their acts of dissent last only a few minutes, hasty candlelight vigils or flash-mob protests in the shadow of a monastery with gilded eaves. The clerics’ demand is lofty: Men in uniform, men who protest a bit too loudly that they are pious Buddhists, must exit politics. The military has dominated Burma for the better part of 60 years, most recently by staging a coup against an elected government and killing more than 1,000 people for daring to oppose its power grab.
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Nepal
Nepal’s Covid-19 tally hits 761,124 with 1902 new cases on Monday- Himalayan Times

Nepal’s coronavirus caseload reached 761,124 on Monday with 1,902 more people testing positive for the infection in the past 24 hours.
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Gagan Thapa says he will contest for Congress general secretary- Kathmandu Post

Gagan Thapa has announced his candidacy for the post of party general secretary, as the Nepali Congress gears up for its 14th general convention.
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International rights bodies call on Nepal to stop stalling enforced disappearance inquiries- Kathmandu Post

International rights organisations on Monday said that Nepal should promptly enforce Supreme Court rulings and permit the regular courts to try cases of enforced disappearance and other grave international crimes.
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CPN-UML directs people’s representatives not to stand in favour of party split- Republica

The CPN-UML on Sunday issued a circular to people’s representatives against standing in favor of the party split. With the issuance of ‘party-split’ ordinance by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the CPN-UML and Janata Samajbadi Party saw fresh split, The two new parties– CPN (Unified Socialist) and Democratic Socialist Party– were formed after the promulgation of the ordinance.
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Biased officials continue ruining the image of state institutions in Nepal- Online Khabar

Deuba and his Council of Ministers had recommended that the president pass the ordinance swiftly. But, that did not happen as Bhandari’s office took over a day to do so. Her office only passed the ordinance after Law Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki continued to quiz the president’s office about the ordinance.
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COVID Vaccine to All New Mothers: State Minister Shrestha- Rising Nepal

State Minister for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha has said that all the women who receive maternity services at the Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital (PMWH) will get the vaccines against COVID-19.
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Pakistan
US troops’ stay here is temporary: minister: Dawn

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has ruled out a long-term presence in Pakistan of those US troops who are coming from Afghanistan, saying that the foreigners who will stay in the country had been issued transit visas ranging from 21 to 30 days.
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Shehbaz floats idea of national govt: Dawn

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday came up with the idea of a national government to take the country out of uncharted waters while claiming that no single party including itself can take up the insurmountable challenges Pakistan is facing.
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Pakistan urges world to support Afghanistan to avoid past mistakes: The Express Tribune

National Security Adviser Moeed Yousaf warned the world against abandoning Afghanistan again on Monday, and urged the global community to engage with the new setup for the sake of ordinary Afghans. According to Moeed, it was time for the global community to learn from the “collective mistakes” for the sake of Afghanistan’s future and regional stability.
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Not a single person came to Pakistan as refugee amid Afghan crisis: Rashid: The Express Tribune

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said that Pakistan was expecting a huge refugee influx from Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul but “not a single person came to the country as a refugee”. The interior minister made it clear that all Pakistanis have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
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Fawad fears repeating mistakes from past would make Afghanistan ‘hub of extremist organisations’: The News

Talking to TRT World, Federal Minister for Information and Technology said if Afghanistan was left alone, as it was in the past, the situation would get worse, as he stressed an inclusive government in Afghanistan was imperative. He urged the world, regional powers to support the process.
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Sri Lanka
DG National Security Studies warns: Hasty recognition of Taliban likely to send the wrong signal to Tamil and Muslim communities here – The Island

India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) will commence construction of the West Container Terminal (WCT) at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port in December, according to a report in Ship Technology. APSEZ will invest more than $ 675.68 million, what is said to be its second international project after Myanmar. In March, the company obtained a letter of intent from the Sri Lankan Government for the construction of the 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) capacity terminal. Officials told Business Line that the concession agreement for the 35-year build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract is scheduled to be signed in November.
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MacAskill calls for Police Scotland to end Sri Lankan training – Scottish Legal News

Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called on Police Scotland to cease all involvement in training police in Sri Lanka following concerns about human rights abuses. Mr MacAskill’s intervention comes after Human Rights Watch, Freedom from Torture, the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and Pax Christi Scotland wrote to justice secretary Keith Brown earlier this month. The human rights groups called on Mr Brown to provide details of a review of Police Scotland training for Sri Lankan police given allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings by Sri Lankan police in recent months.
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US Foreign Affairs Committee member Dina Titus advocates stronger US-Sri Lanka bonds – The Island

United States Congresswoman Dina Titus, also a member of America’s vital House Foreign Affairs Committee, advocates strong bonds between the U.S. and Sri Lanka through a vigorous democratic process. An active member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Sub-Committee on Asia-Pacific – under whose purview Sri Lanka falls – encourages critical reforms to rule of law and democracy in this South Asian nation.
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Sri Lanka fails to sell 92-pct of bond auction – ECONOMYNEXT

Sri Lanka has failed to sell 92 per cent of a 50 billion rupee bond auction, with slightly more bonds being sold in 2025 bonds, than 2023 bonds, official data shows. 800 million rupees of 01 September 2023 bonds were sold at 6.75 per cent, after offering 30 billion rupees. 3.2 billion rupees of 15 October 2025 bonds were sold at 8.55 per cent after offering 20 billion rupees.
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9,208 persons test positive for COVID-19 over the weekend – Daily FT

Health officials stated that 4,612 persons tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, raising the weekend detections to 9,208. The patients detected yesterday are from the New Year cluster. The Health Promotion Bureau states that 13,446 PCR tests were carried out yesterday. On Saturday, 16,073 PCR tests and 4,621 rapid antigen tests were carried out. The patients detected on Saturday include 4,576 persons from the New Year cluster, 14 Sri Lankan overseas returnees, and six persons from the Prisons cluster. A total of 318,482 patients have been detected from the New Year cluster, with the total detections including 8,154 persons from the Prisons cluster, 6,835 Sri Lankan overseas arrivals, and 328 foreigners.
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