South Asia

afghan debt relief: Afghanistan was recently granted interim debt relief meant for impoverished countries with heavy debt. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, Afghanistan will now have its net public and private debt payments cut by 51 per cent so that more funds can be utilised for healthcare, education and other essential services, according to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Afghanistan's total overseas debt stood at US $11.9 billion last year. The US, Russia and Germany have also offered further debt relief to Afghanistan under the IMF. Russia and Germany will reduce 92 per cent of Afghanistan's debt with Washington forgiving 100 per cent of all debt payments, totalling around US $1 billion.

coal imports banned: On July 15, Bangladesh directed its Importers and Exporters Federation to import coal from Indonesia or China.The move comes after a ban on coal imports to the country from two Indian states

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