News and analysis regarding the major developments in the South Asian region. Our writers Sarika Bhattacharjee and Diya Jiang produce weekly. Our section editor is Lara Dreux.
On May 3 Pakistan’s long-awaited Islamabad airport opened after years of delays. The new Islamabad International Airport has a carrying capacity of up to 9 million passengers annually with further room for expansion, potentially able to serve up to 25 million passengers per year by 2025. The airport is located fifteen kilometers from Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, and also serves Islamabad’s sister city of Rawalpindi. While the airport was initially conceived in 1984, it has been plagued with delays and has taken over a decade to build.
The recent string of violence in Afghanistan has compromised national security in the past few weeks, with the most severe attacks resulting in the deaths of at least 95 people. Approximately 38 people died on Monday alone in the four attacks that occurred - a set of twin bombings, a shooting, a suicide bombing, and an attack on an American soldier.
An Indian court has found Indian spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of rape and has sentenced him to life imprisonment. The attack occurred in 2013, when the victim was sixteen years old. She was one of Bapu’s many followers. Bapu, who is currently 77, is also on trial for another rape case in the western Gujarat state.
A suicide bomber detonated explosives at a voting center in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 57 people as they registered to vote. ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to the World Bank’s biannual report, South Asia Economic Focus, South Asia has regained its lead as the fastest growing region in the world. Released on Sunday, the World Bank’s SAEF report synthesizes recent economic developments in the South Asia region to formulate a prediction for its future growth.
Five days after being reported as “missing” in January, eight-year-old Asifa Bano of the Muslim community of the Bakarwal tribe was reportedly found dead, allegedly having been in search of her horses in a local forest near the Himalayan Mountains.
Protests by university students in Dhaka, Bangladesh have come to an end after days of demonstrations. These began after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a quota policy setting aside 56% of civil service jobs for 1971 independence war veterans and their families, as well as disadvantaged minorities. The policy would leave university students fighting for the remaining 44% of civil service jobs.
Salman Khan has been released from jail as he appeals for a conviction in a poaching case the Bollywood star has been dealing with for two decades.
On April 2nd, India’s Press Information Bureau released a statement regarding the amendment of accreditation regulations for journalists, emphasizing a stricter policy on fake news. Barely a day later, the Indian government withdrew the order, reportedly at the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following widespread public backlash.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe survived a 12-hour debate in the Sri Lankan Parliament over a no-confidence motion that threatened to oust him from power. The motion highlighted the tension between PM Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena and their respective parties.
Navin Nischal, Vijay Singhand, and Sandeep Sharma were three journalists who were violently struck by vehicles and killed all in the span of 24 hours.
Pakistan has come to its own defense about its nuclear safety record in the aftermath of new United States sanctions on seven Pakistani companies with alleged ties to nuclear trade.
On March 20th, the International Food Policy Research Institute released their 2018 Global Food Policy Report highlighting the severity of climate change’s effect on food security, specifically in the region of South Asia.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund published a press release on Tuesday, March 6 showing a decline in child marriage rates in India.
Administrators at a hardline Islamic school in Bangladesh confiscated students’ mobile phones on Tuesday in an effort to prevent technology-induced distractions.The devices were then allegedly set aflame in a bonfire.
Map the Gap, a new initiative by GenomeAsia 100k, plans to address the deficiency in genetic data for South Asians. DNA sequencing is dominated by participants of European descent. According to Lakshmi Maithel, program director of Map the Gap, South Asians represent approximately 25% of the global population yet only 1% of genetic data is derived from South Asians.
In India’s state Chennai, breast cosmetic surgery is now offered for free, additional to that previously being the case for cancer patients.
Indian film star Kamal Haasan announced Wednesday the launch of his new political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The Maldivian Parliament voted to extend the nation’s state of emergency by 30 days on Tuesday, February 20, following the request of President Abdulla Yameen. Though the original 15-day state of emergency was set to expire on Tuesday, President Yameen stated that ongoing threats to national security necessitated its continuance.
On Wednesday, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid shared a 10-page document urging the United States to withdraw troops from the conflict in Afghanistan. This comes after nearly two decades of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, dating back to the Bush administration in 2001.
On Saturday, a militant group attacked the Indian army base in Kashmir, killing 10 people. The firefight was arguably the most devastating militant attack in months in Kashmir, and in the aftermath of the attack, tension has mounted between India and Pakistan.
Over 33 people have reportedly been affected by HIV as a result of a false doctor’s unprofessional use of a contaminated syringe in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The United States may consider lifting its security aid suspension from Pakistan, as long as Pakistan commits to taking a “decisive and sustained” approach to targeting dangerous groups within its territory, according to a State Department official.
Both the Taliban and Afghanistan have made public comments since United States President Donald Trump refused the idea of peace talks with the Taliban on Monday. While the Taliban denied wanting to negotiate with the United States either way, Afghanistan stressed that the Taliban would have to be defeated militarily and declined to respond directly to Trump’s statement.
Narendra Modi, current Prime Minister of India, became the first Indian prime minister since 1997 to address the World Economic Forum delegates on Tuesday. After thanking Davos, Switzerland for hosting the 48th annual WEF conference, Modi delivered a speech that encouraged both globalization and cooperation between international powers in the face of increasingly popular protectionist ideologies.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current tour of India and friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reflect the deepening ties between India and Israel. It is the first visit to India by an Israeli Prime Minister in 15 years.
Pakistani citizens have taken to the streets of Kasul in the past two days to protest police handling of a case involving the rape and murder of a seven year old girl. Zainab Amin’s body was found dumped on a garbage pile last week.
Sri Lanka formally handed over the commercial activities in its main southern port to a Chinese Company on a 99-year lease, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
The $1.1 billion commercial deal, signed in earlier this year, allows a state-run Chinese company to operate the port and about 15,000 acres nearby for an industrial zone.
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