Daily Briefs

Photo : The Kathmandu Post

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #29, 4 July 2023, Tuesday

Taliban bans beauty salons in Afghanistan

Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister urges China to sign implementation of BRI projects

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #29, 4 July 2023, Tuesday

By Immaculine Joy Paul C, Ryan Marcus and Lakshmi Parimala H



Deputy Prime Minister urges China to sign implementation of BRI projects

On 4 July, The Kathmandu Post reported that during his visit to China, Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, responded to Chinese leaders' calls for expediting BRI projects by urging them to sign project implementation agreements. Shrestha further emphasised the need for clarity on financing. He also discussed delayed projects, the opening of more trading points, and additional dry ports along the Nepal-China border to enhance trade. Disagreements over financing and a lack of clarity have hindered project selection and implementation. (Anil Giri, “DPM Shrestha urges China to sign implementation deals on BRI projects,” The Kathmandu Post, 4 July 2023)



India allows potato imports without a license

On 3 July, The Economic Times reported that India has extended the permission for importing potatoes from Bhutan without a license until June 2024. In the fiscal year 2022-23, India imported fresh potatoes from Bhutan valued at $1.02 million. Additionally, India has allowed the import of 17,000 metric tonnes of fresh areca nut from Bhutan without a minimum import price condition. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has also provided a procedure for allocating quotas to export broken rice on humanitarian grounds. (Kirtika Suneja, “India allows potato imports from Bhutan sans license till June 2024,” The Economic Times, 3 July 2023)



Bangladesh in UN focus for tackling climate change

On 4 July, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, announced that Bangladesh is among the 30 countries receiving priority assistance from the UN to tackle climate change and natural disasters. Mizutori praised Bangladesh's progress in social indicators and emphasized the importance of learning from the country. Md Shahab Uddin, Bangladesh's Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change, emphasised the implementation of numerous initiatives in order to demonstrate the government's commitment to safeguarding lives and livelihoods from climate change. (“Climate change: Bangladesh among 30 countries in UN focus,” Dhaka Tribune, 4 July 2023)


NAM appreciates Bangladesh’s contribution to global issues

On 4 July, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) praised Bangladesh for its contributions to peace, SDGs, climate change, and more. NAM foreign ministers called for conditions supporting the voluntary return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar and emphasized the implementation of the Bangladesh-Myanmar arrangement. Bangladesh, a member since 1973, has upheld multilateralism and the principles of friendship and non-malice. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen highlighted Bangladesh's commitment to NAM's core principles during negotiations. (“Non-Aligned Movement lauds Bangladesh’s contributions to addressing global issues,” Dhaka Tribune, 4 July 2023)



Supreme Court to hear appeals of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President

On 4 July, The Irrawaddy reported that Myanmar's Supreme Court, controlled by the military junta, is set to hear appeals from State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. They are appealing their convictions on charges such as electoral fraud and corruption. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to a total of 33 years on 19 charges, while U Win Myint received a 12-year sentence on eight charges. The court's decisions will have significant implications for the country's political landscape. (“Myanmar Supreme Court to Hear President and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Appeals,” The Irrawaddy, 4 July 2023)



Leader of Prachachat Party to become the House speaker

On 3 July, the leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) Pita Limjaroenrat said that they reached an agreement with the Pheu Thai Party to nominate Wan Muhammad Nor Matha, leader of the Prachachat Party, as the House speaker. The decision came after a huge tussle over the post between the MFP and the Pheu Thai party and they reasoned as a representative from a third party would resolve the issue. Mr Wan Nor said that he did not want the job, but would take it if it could move the formation of the coalition forward. (“Late deal keeps coalition happy,” Bangkok Post, 4 July 2023)



MDP accuses Parliament’s presidency of misusing rules

On 3 July, the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Parliamentary Group leader Mohamed Aslam blamed the Parliament’s presidency when an extraordinary session to reconstitute the standing committees ended with no progress. He said that the rules of the parliament are being misused and expressed hope that the deadlock could be solved. The opposition previously stated that the no-confidence motion against both the speaker and the deputy speaker could not be taken up simultaneously. Aslam responded that if rules prohibit, one case will be withdrawn. Further, he asked Speaker Nasheed to resign in case of not complying with the rules. (“Parliament rules being misused: MP Aslam,” Avas.mv, 3 July 2023)



Indian PM conveys wishes on Iran's SCO membership

On 4 July, Hindustan Times reported that PM Modi, who chaired the virtual SCO summit stated that Iran is expected to join the organisation and welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Obligation. Iran had requested to join the alliance 15 years ago. In May 2023, an official stated that observer countries- Iran and Belarus could become full-time members of the charter. ("Iran formally becomes full member of SCO, PM Narendra Modi conveys best wishes to President Ebrahim Raisi," Hindustan Times, 4 July 2023)


Iran execution rates rise

On 4 July, Hindustan Times reported that Iran has executed more than 354 people until 30 June for the year 2023. Iran Human Rights warned that the pace is higher than in 2022 and the Iranian authorities have used death penalties to inflict fear following the protests related to Mahsa Amini. The group also noted a rise of 36 per cent in comparison to death penalties in 2022 and a 126 per cent rise in drug-related charges. ("Iran executes 354 people this year, 126% rise in drug-related charges," Hindustan Times, 4 July 2023)



Taliban bans beauty salons in Afghanistan

On 4 July, Mint reported that the Taliban has banned beauty salons in Kabul and other provinces. The ministry has called for the Kabul municipality to bring a decree into effect and suspend the licenses of beauty salons. The statement related to the ban was made by the Ministry of Vice and Virtue spokesman Akif Mahajar. ("Taliban now bans women's beauty salons in Kabul and other provinces in Afghanistan: Report," Mint, 4 July 2023)


Eighty Afghan civilians allegedly killed by SAS

On 4 July, the Guardian reported that more than eighty Afghan civilians have been subjected to summary killings by three British SAS units between 2010 and 2013. The claims were documented by the law firm Leigh Day, based on previous Ministry of Defence court disclosures. Leigh Day states that more than 30 suspicious incidents had resulted in the deaths of eight individuals. ("Eighty Afghan civilians may have been summarily killed by SAS, inquiry told," The Guardian, 2 July 2023)


SCO countries urged to help Afghanistan

On 4 July, the Print reported that Indian PM Modi had stated that the SCO countries must help Afghanistan with food, fuel and fertiliser shortages. Pakistani PM Sharif stated that the SCO needs to prevent the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. UNWFP has additionally announced 10,000 metric tonnes of wheat has been delivered from India to Herat City, Afghanistan. ("India urges SCO to fight terrorism, help Afghanistan," the Print, 4 July 2023)


Other Daily Briefs