January 10- 16
US Bombs Afghan Militia Behind Insider Attack, Officials Say
January 11, 2018 | Zabihullah Ghazi & Mujib Mashal | New York Times
The American military bombed members of an Afghan government militia in eastern Afghanistan, killing 13 fighters after at least one opened fire on American Special Forces deployed there in what is being described as an "insider attack." According to the US military, one service member was wounded. The attack occured in the Achin District of the Nangarhar Province, believed to be the stronghold of the Islamic State's affiliate in Afghanistan. It has also been the deadliest province for American soldiers during the past year, with 8 American servicemen dying. Read it here.
Bloodiest Year Ever for Journalists in Afghanistan
January 11, 2018 | Radio Liberty
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) reported that 20 journalists and media workers were killed in 2017, making it the “bloodiest” year ever for journalists and other media personnel working in Afghanistan, with the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militant groups being blamed for much of the violence. The group also stated that there were 169 reported cases of violence and threats against journalists on the job, with 12 of them directed toward female media workers. Along with direct violence, the report cited examples of intimidation against media outlets by the Taliban and Islamic State, leading to situations of “self-censorship.” Read it here.
Amid Concerns, Afghan Forces Ready to Hand Over Security Responsibilities to Rural Communities
January 15, 2018 | Mohammad Habibzada | VOA
Afghan forces are planning to hand over security responsibilities to local forces in the rural communities they have recently captured from Taliban and IS militants, in eastern Nangarhar a province that borders Pakistan. Some officials and experts are expressing concern that the localization of forces could lead to more instability. There is also concern that local forces that haven't been trained to the national security forces' standards may commit human rights abuses that could sway public opinion in those areas away from the government and back towards the Taliban and Islamic State. Read it here.
World Bank Terms Economic Sector of Bangladesh Stable
January 10, 2018 | Lalit K Jha | Dhaka Tribune
The World Bank reported in its annual Global Economic Prospect Report that Bangladesh will have a robust growth rate of 6.7% for the 2018-2020 fiscal year and a stronger export sector. The report also states that the government investment growth has made a positive impact on the private sector of the country as well.
Bangladesh Finds New Natural Gas Reserves
January 15 | The Daily Star
Bangladesh has found approximately 600 billion cubic feet of new natural gas reserves in its southern coastal district of Bhola at a time when the country is concentrating on import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).This discovery comes as a rising number of Bangladeshi households and business are complaining about dwindling gas supplies. Read it here.
Bhutan and India Celebrate 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations
January 14, 2018 | Kuensel
In a grand ceremony yesterday, marked with traditional songs and dances, Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji of Bhutan and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj of India unveiled a special logo to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Read it here.
Vehicle Numbers Rise Despite Measures
January 14, 2017 | Kuensel
The percentage of Bhutanese that own a car has risen sharply from one in ten to one in seven over the past two years. This statistic, while welcome news for the state of Bhutan's economic development, is somewhat misleading as it ignores the widespread poverty that continues to exist in rural areas; nearly half of the cars are concentrated in the capital, Thimphu, where one in two individuals owns a car. Read it here.
Concerns over Illegal Detention of Indian Dalits
January 11, 2018 | Al-Jazeera
Activists in India say hundreds of Dalits have been "illegally detained" and many others are in hiding, as police in Maharashtra state moved to arrest members of the community who took part in mass protests. According to official police reports, 43 people have been arrested in connection with last week's protests, which were sparked by the attack on the Dalit community, sometimes derogatorily referred to as "Untouchables" that occurred during the commemoration of the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Bhima- Koregaon. But Dalit organizations and activists claim that the real number is well over 100, leaving dozens of people unaccounted for. Read it here.
Defense, Trade and Bollywood: Netanyahu Visits India
January 14, 2018 | Al-Jazeera
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel arrived in India on a six day trip, becoming the second Israeli PM to visit India since bilateral diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1992. In a "departure from protocol," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Mr. Netanyahu in person at the New Delhi airport. Defense, security, trade, and agricultural cooperation will be high on the agenda, furthering Israel's recent trend of strengthened ties with the rising South Asian power, as exemplified by the fact that India is now the biggest buyer of Israeli defense equipment. Read it here.
Kashmir: Four Pakistani Soldiers Killed by Indian Fire
January 15, 2018 | Al-Jazeera
Four Pakistani soldiers were killed in a mortar attack by Indian forces while conducting maintenance on communication lines in the village of Kotli along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region. At the time of writing, there reports on the number of Indian soldiers killed and wounded in the subsequent crossfire is unknown. Read it here.
In Rural Nepal, Menstruation Taboo Claims Another Victim
January 10, 2018 | Bhadra Sharma & Jeffrey Gettleman | New York Times
Ms. Kumari Bayak is the latest victim of a very old tradition in rural Nepal where religious Hindus believe that menstruating women are unclean and need to be banished from the home. The Nepalese government has outlawed the practice, but dozens of women have still succumbed to the pathology of this ancient tradition in recent years. Read it here.
With New Chinese Link, Nepal Ends India's Internet Monopoly
January 14, 2018 | The Star Online
Nepal has partnered with China to offer Internet services to its citizens, officials said on Jan 12, ending India's decades-long monopoly of the Himalayan nation's cyber connectivity network. For years, Nepal depended on Indian telecom companies, such as Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications Ltd, for access to the worldwide web. Nepal hopes that Chinese internet services will prove more reliable than the infamously slow Indian service. New Delhi and Beijing have been competing for influence in Nepal and other South Asian countries in recent years. Read it here.
Pakistan Taliban Book Claims its Suicide Bombers Killed Benazir Bhutto
January 15, 2018 | The Times of India
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, saying it killed her as she allegedly planned to collaborate with the US against the 'mujahideen' if she returned to power, says a book by the banned terror group. Yet, many officials close to the Bhutto family suspect that former General Pervez Musharraf might also have had a tacit hand in the assassination; he was formally charged by an anti-terror court in August 2017. Musharraf continues to claim this charge is false and politically motivated. Read it here.
A Young Girl's Rape and Murder Have Catalyzed Countrywide Outrage in Pakistan
January 14, 2018 | Colin Dwyer | NPR
Two days after a young girl named Zainab was found dead in a trash heap in the city of Kasur, strangled after a brutal rape, widespread shock and ourtrage at the perceived inaction of the authorities has escalated into widespread protests. At least two people were killed and two others injured when police shot into the crowd. The Punjab government claims it has arrested the officer suspected of firing the fatal shots. Pakistani Punjab, and Kasur in particular, has an endemic of child sex abuse, with 111 cases reported last year alone. Read it here.
The New Normal' in Pakistan: A Journalist on the Run from Gunmen
January 11, 2018 | Mehreen Zahra- Malik | New York Times
Journalists and critics of the military in Pakistan have been subjected to "disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and intimidation for years. The story of Taha Siddiqui, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Indian television channel, WION, who last week found himself on the run from gunmen, exemplifies this troubling trend eating away at the core of Pakistan's civil society. Read it here.
Sri Lanka's President Rejects Move to Allow Women to Buy Alcohol
January 14, 2018 | BBC News
In a reversal of last week's decision to allow the sale of alcohol to women, Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena legally overruled the measure in an apparent accommodation of the the Buddhist clerical establishment. Read it here.
President's Term is Only Five Years- SC
January 15, 2018 | The Hindu
The Sri Lankan Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena’s term is only five years in response to Mr. Sirisena's request for a six year term. Read it here.