Afghanistan aid groups need $550 million.
Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan had said that international aid groups needed more than a half a billion dollars this year to help millions of Afghans struggling with increased violence and a bleak economy, as a humanitarian crisis worsened. The United Nations estimated at least 9.3 million Afghans, or nearly a third of the population, would need humanitarian assistance in 2017, a 13 percent increase from last year. Officials expected hundreds of thousands of refugees to return from Pakistan and Iran this year, even as an average of 1,500 people were newly displaced by fighting every day. Bowden said an increasing number of people in Afghanistan were facing prolonged displacement creating more challenges for the government, which was already struggling to provide basic services. The 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan, set to be launched by the United Nations and other organisations on Saturday, called for $550 million to help about 5.7 million of the most vulnerable people. Such funding requests routinely only met a fraction of the target, with $197 million received for last year's annual request of $339 million. An additional emergency appeal last year for $152 million to help more than a million refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran, as well as people newly displaced by fighting, raised just over $91 million. Meanwhile Afghan journalists said they were facing more risks than ever as both insurgents and unscrupulous government officials increasingly threatened, assaulted, and even murdered reporters. Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) said that at least 13 journalists were killed in Afghanistan last year, making it the deadliest year on record for Afghan media. Besides the 13 deaths, the press group documented at least 88 incidents of assault, intimidation, abuse, and other physical attacks, a 38 percent increase over numbers recorded in 2015. The AJSC blamed the deaths of at least 10 of the 13 journalists on the Taliban, saying the group had "drastically increased" its targeting and intimidation of journalists., leading in some cases to more self-censorship by media.
The potential for power earnings
The India-based Integrated Research and Action for Development under the South Asian Regional Initiative for Energy Integration Programme of the US Agency for International Development had issued a report titled ‘Economic Benefits from Nepal-India Electricity Trade’ that said that Nepal could earn earn Rs1 trillion a year by selling power. Nepal could generate revenue of up to Rs310 billion per year in 2030 and as high as Rs1,069 billion per year in 2045 if the country was able to sell electricity to India by harnessing its hydropower potential. Nepal stood to generate these earnings provided the country started exporting 13 gigawatts of electricity to India by 2030 and doubled this capacity by 2045. To harness electricity of this quantum, Nepal needed to invest up to Rs2,596 billion in between 2012 and 2030 and another Rs2,216 billion in between 2031 and 2045.
Pakistan accuses Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh of ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris
The Pakistan media cited Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria as saying that Hindu terrorist organisations such as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), its affiliates and the armed village ‘defence’ committees were committing ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims in the Jammu region. At a weekly briefing he said that since 2014, when the Modi government took over, Hindu terrorists had been empowered with full support from the state machinery, more so in the Kashmir Valley, causing displacement of scores of Muslim families by design. He said that the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir in the British House of Commons was holding a three-hour debate at which the Kashmir issue and human rights violations would be discussed. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was currently visiting Davos to participate in the World Economic Forum, where he held meetings with various leaders and highlighted rights violations of defenceless Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces.
Not very encouraging for Pakistan
Sajid Tarar, a prominent Pakistani supporter of President-elect Donald Trump had said that the Trump administration had no plans to “unfriend” Pakistan but its relations with India would be even closer than those of the Obama administration.
Mr Tarar, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July and prayed for Mr Trump’s victory, would also address the prayer breakfast for the new president. Mr Tarar said he was a “committed American and a committed Pakistani” and wanted to “do something to improve US-Pakistan relations”. He noted that most Muslims in America, including Pakistanis, voted for Mr Trump’s rival in the election. “That’s their democratic right but they should now accept the fact that Mr Trump is the president,” said Mr Tarar, a founding member of the Muslims for Trump group.