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Showing posts from April 7, 2020

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Five

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Five CSIS Briefs April 2, 2020 DOWNLOAD THE BRIEF     THE ISSUE The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was off icially launched in April 2015, promised transformational gains. Five years later, a quarter of announced projects have been completed, energy projects dominate, and industrialization efforts are lagging, according to data collected by the CSIS  Reconnecting Asia Project  and made available to the public  here . KEY FINDINGS Scaled-back Ambitions:  Of 122 announced projects, a quarter (32 projects) have been completed, or roughly $20 billion of the estimated $87 billion in funding. While this is a significant amount of activity, particularly in the transport and energy sectors, it also highlights a gap between projects announced and completed. Energy Focus Carries Environmental Costs:  Energy projects account for nearly two-thirds of CPEC funding, and nearly 40 percent of th

Quetta doctors’ protest: YDA president denies reaching agreement with govt

Pakistan Web Desk April 07, 2020 Contracts of 533 doctors have been extended till June. Two hundred and five doctors and nurses have been appointed on an ad hoc basis, he said Reuters QUETTA: Young Doctors Association President Dr Yasir Khan denied on Tuesday reaching an agreement with the government after police arrested and baton-charged the doctors for protesting over non-provision of safety equipment. The YDA president demanded that the policemen involved in manhandling and arrest of medical staff should face action. The provincial health secretary and special secretary should be removed from the posts. “Until our demands are met, no services will be provided apart from in the labour room and cardiology department,” he said. Elaborating the demands, he said that doctors should be provided PPE, medical kits and other facilities so that they can treat the coronavirus patients. It was learnt that there is no medical staff available to treat patients at the Civil Hospital Quetta. After

The curious case of space rocks smuggled out of Zhob, Balochistan to Arizona, USA Sci-tech Usman Kabir April 06, 2020 From Zhob in Balochistan to Arizona in the US, a space rock worth millions has attracted lots of interest The Zhob meteorite at the Arizona State University. Photo:International Society for Meteorites and Planetary Science ZHOB: On January 9 this year, just as some farmers — who eke out a living growing vegetables in the mountains surrounding the city of Zhob, Balochistan — made their way home after a long day at work, a terribly frightening noise, akin to a raging storm, disrupted the tranquility of their otherwise sedate surroundings. A bright light pierced the sky, and several loud explosions followed it. The earth shook, and it was as if calamity had struck. The series of events happened too quickly for the farmers to immediately understand what was happening. Within seconds, the earth stopped shaking, the bright light vanished, and the terrible sound died down. However, the strange occurrence left behind souvenirs. On inspecting the area

Doctors arrested for staging protest in Balochistan over no safety kits Doctors staged a protest outside the Balochistan Chief Minister and governor house over not being provided with safety kits amid the coronavirus outbreak. The move came after 12 doctors became infected with COVID-19 due to the unavailability of safety equipment. Despite highlighting the issues several times to the provisional government, no action was taken. On 31st March, the young doctors association threatened to go on strike in a critical time if they were not provided basic safety equipment. Lives of more than 189 who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Balochistan could be at risk if the doctors in the province go on a strike. Police have arrested over 50 doctors and paramedics during the actions in a bid to disperse the protesters. Balochistan spokesperson rubbished the claims of not providing the safety kits, saying the protective gear has been given to doctors performing duties in coronavirus units. Following the police action, the representatives of

A widow in Balochistan waits for help during the lockdown   Pakistan Muhammad Ejaz Khan April 07, 2020 Bibi Jan, a 65-year-old widow is among hundreds of people left to fend for themselves due to the coronavirus lockdown in the province Photo: File Bibi Jan is a 65-year-old widow. Until two weeks ago, she worked as a housemaid for a family in an upscale neighbourhood of Quetta in Balochistan. Then one day the family packed up and left, as coronavirus cases spiked in the city. Bibi knocked on a few doors in the area looking for work, but few seemed interested. On March 24, the Balochistan government announced a 15-day lockdown across the province, to contain the numbers of people being infected with the deadly virus. There was no prior warning and no time for preparation. Quetta and its surrounding areas shut down within 24 hours, leaving hundreds of people like Bibi to fend for themselves. Bibi lives with her three minor granddaughters, who she takes care of after her daughter died last year. She has no source of income and there is no

Bajwa-Imran Visit To China And Rumors About CPEC – OpEd   April 6, 2020     Irfan Mahar By  Irfan Mahar* It has been a rumor for a long period that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is dying because of various reasons along with the negligence of the present government. In this regard, there are two popular narratives about the CPEC and Pak-China relations. One perspective which has been floating within Pakistani society since long is that because of American and Indian pressure regarding CPEC and Chinese involvement within the country, Islamabad has stopped the work on the projects that come under CPEC. Besides, Pakistan has been pressurized through International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to withdraw from Chinese investment within the country, therefore, it faces various difficulties in continuation of projects. Another perspective portrays an optimistic picture of the whole scenario where work on CPEC projects is in process and 13 projects worth $11 billion have completed. The p

Covid-19 pandemic puts brakes on Chinese projects

The lack of travel facilities for Chinese labour is a key factor in this process, with thousands of Chinese workers unable to return to work on BRI projects across Asia and Europe, persons familiar with the BRI projects told ET. Over 130 countries... By  Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury ,  ET Bureau  |  Apr 06, 2020, 11.43 PM IST Economic Times, India Agencies “The pace at which BRI projects and their supply chains come back will depend on the effectiveness of China’s containment of the virus and speed its broader economic recovery,” claims the CFR report. New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic has put brakes on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s dream project –– the Belt and Road  Initiative  (BRI) –– including the portion covered in India’s neighbourhood. Work has halted along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, besides BRI projects across Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia, EThas learnt. The lack of travel facilities for Chinese labour is a key factor

Blue Dot Network: The Belt and Road Alternative Insights from Matthew P. Goodman. By  Mercy A. Kuo April 07, 2020 Credit:  Wikimedia Commons/ Saadsuddozai ADVERTISEMENT Trans-Pacific View  author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Matthew P. Goodman – Senior Vice President in charge of Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who served twice at the White House on the National Security Council staff  –  is the 231st in  “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series”.  Explain the rationale and role of the Blue Dot Network (BDN). As my colleagues and I discussed in  a recent CSIS piece , the BDN was announced by the United States, Japan, and Australia in November 2019 at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Thailand. Together, the three allies plan to certify infrastructure projects around the world that meet high standards of transparency,

Some Say China’s Belt and Road Helped Create This Pandemic. Can It Prevent the Next One? As COVID-19 spreads around the world, China has begun talking about a “Health Silk Road.” But one already exists – at least, on paper. By  Andreea Brînză April 02, 2020 A man fixes the Chinese flag in front of boxes with protective suits and masks in Vienna, Austria, March 20, 2020. Credit: AP Photo/Ronald Zak ADVERTISEMENT As the novel coronavirus spread from country to country, reaching the level of a pandemic, some voices pointed toward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the main avenue of contagion. But had it been better implemented, the BRI could instead have been lauded as a champion of pandemic prevention. Many people may not know that the BRI has a branch dedicated to facilitating communication among countries in order to prevent and control infectious diseases, create a platform for proper health services and the health industry, facilitate personnel training and medical research, and develop international assistance. The idea of what we might call  BRI Hea