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India an important aspect in growth, stability, and development of Asia Pacific region

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Image source: kickerdaily.com

Washington: India’s Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said on Tuesday that India is “a politico-economic opportunity” for the Asia Pacific, which could play a significant role in growth, development and stability of the region.

India’s participation in the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum could also help consolidate India’s quest to speed up growth and to integrate closer with its neighbouring Asia-Pacific economies, he said here on Tuesday.

“India represents a politico-economic opportunity for APEC,” Singh said, during a discussion at the Indian embassy, on “India and the APEC Opportunity” over a new report brought out by the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

The envoy noted that India was a G20 country and member of the East Asia Summit and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), “whose economic and political weight is bound to increase in the coming years”.

“We believe that India could play an important role within APEC for growth, development and stability of the region,” he said.

“In turn, membership of APEC would help India in integrating further with economies of the region, resulting in a win-win situation for all,” Singh said.

“It can also help India become familiar and more involved with the sweeping changes taking place in the region towards reducing transaction costs, improving connectivity and supply chain linkages, strengthening human capital development, and building sustainable and inclusive communities,” he said.

“Today Asia is witnessing a consolidation of competing mega-regional trade agreements,” Singh said, citing the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the RCEP, and APEC promoted Free Trade Area for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

“While India is part of RCEP, it is not involved in TPP or FTAAP. Yet, India has already become a ‘strategic partner’ of several APEC member countries and all, but four, APEC member countries already have or are pursuing trade agreements with India bilaterally or multilaterally, including China.”

“India joining the APEC forum can bring India’s economic integration with the region to a level-matching its strategic partnership with the APEC members and groups like ASEAN,” he said.

In its new report, “India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity”, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) highlights the significant benefits that would accrue to India, APEC members, and the region as a result of India joining the forum.

It also outlines the obstacles that stand in the way of Indian membership and the potential steps that India and APEC could take to address these impediments. (Arun Kumar, IANS)

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‘Humans Have Caused Pollution and Humans Can Fix It too’, Says UN Environment Head; Asserts Asia Must Lead Efforts for a Pollution-Free Earth

World Health Organization figures show Asia has 25 of the world's 30 most-polluted cities in terms of fine particles in the air that pose the greatest risks to human health

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Asia-Pacific
People wear protective masks during a polluted day in Shanghai (VOA)

Bangkok, September 9, 2017 : Asia-Pacific — home to more than half the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies — is a key battleground in the fight against pollution, one of the biggest threats to the planet and its people, the U.N. environment chief said.

An estimated 12 million people die prematurely each year because of unhealthy environments, 7 million of them due to air pollution alone, making pollution “the biggest killer of humanity,” Erik Solheim told the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment in Bangkok this week.

ALSO READ Air Pollution expected to Cause 60,000 Deaths in 2030 and 2,60,000 in 2100 Globally: Study

Humans have caused pollution and humans can fix it, said Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, in an interview with Reuters at the four-day summit.

“The struggle for a pollution-free planet will be won or lost in Asia — nowhere else,” said the former Norwegian minister for environment and international development.

The sheer size of Asia-Pacific, as well as its continued economic growth, put it at the heart of the challenge, he added.

The region’s development has been accompanied by worsening pollution of its air, water and soil. Its emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide doubled between 1990 and 2012, and the use of resources such as minerals, metals and biomass has tripled, according to the United Nations.

Asia-Pacific
A man carries a sack of vegetables as he walks past a polluted canal littered with plastic bags and other garbage, in Mumbai. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) (VOA)

World Health Organization figures also show Asia has 25 of the world’s 30 most-polluted cities in terms of fine particles in the air that pose the greatest risks to human health. The pollution comes largely from the combustion of fossil fuels, mostly for transport and electricity generation.

Solheim said Asia is also a major contributor of plastic polluting the world’s oceans — and solutions can be found in the region. He pointed to a huge beach cleanup campaign in Mumbai that inspired Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overhaul the country’s waste management system.

“There’s enormous environmental opportunity,” Solheim said. “Asia has by and large strong governments, and they have the ability to fix problems.”

Coal no longer king?

Solheim said fighting pollution by moving toward renewable energy sources such as wind and solar would also benefit efforts to curb climate change, which scientists say is stoking more deadly heatwaves, floods and sea-level rise around the world.

But environmentalists worry that Asia’s demand for coal, the most polluting of the major fossil fuels, is likely to grow for years to come.

Figures from a forum organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Singapore earlier this year show that some 273 gigawatts of coal power are still being built, although much more has been put on hold.

In July, analysts told Reuters that Japan, China and South Korea are bank-rolling coal-fired power plants in Indonesia despite their pledges to reduce planet-warming emissions under the Paris climate deal.

Asia-Pacific
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement seeks to limit the rise in average world temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Experts say curbing or ending the use of coal is required if this goal is to be reached.

Globally, many countries — including China — are shutting down or suspending plans for coal-fired power plants as costs for wind and solar power plummet.

Solheim is optimistic, noting that the International Energy Agency significantly raised its five-year growth forecast for renewables led by China, India, the United States and Mexico.

“There are very, very few people in the world who believe that the future is coal,” he said. “I think we will see the shift [to renewables] happening much faster than people tend to believe.”

ALSO READ Paris climate pact: The play of words

On U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his nation out of the Paris Agreement, Solheim sees a silver lining.

“The surprising judgment of history may be that Donald Trump did a lot of service to this fight against climate change by withdrawing, because he galvanized the reaction of everyone else,” said Solheim.

“All the big, iconic companies of modern capitalism — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon — they immediately said, ‘We will move into the green economy.'” (VOA)

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Asia Pacific sees positive growth as server revenue declines Globally

According to Gartner, Asia Pacific was the only region to show positive growth in both shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016

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(Representational image) An employee of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) reacts as he works at the bourse in Tokyo August 9, 2011. The Nikkei stock average closed down 1.7 percent on Tuesday, having trimmed losses on bargain hunting after the index tumbled more than 4 percent in the wake of a plunge on Wall Street and a downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS) VOA

Mumbai, March 2, 2017:  As server revenue declined globally, Asia Pacific was the only region to show positive growth in both shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016, market research firm Gartner said on Thursday.

The worldwide server revenue declined 1.9 percent (year over year) in the fourth quarter of 2016 while shipments fell 0.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015.

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In 2016, worldwide server shipments grew 0.1 percent but server revenue declined 2.7 percent.

“Hyperscale data centres (like Facebook, Google) grew and, at the same time, drove some significant server replacements. Enterprises grew at a lower rate as they continued to leverage server applications through virtualisation and in some cases, service providers in the cloud,” explained Jeffrey Hewitt, Research Vice President at Gartner.

From a regional perspective, Asia Pacific region exhibited positive growth in both shipments and revenue. All other regions declined, with Latin America experiencing the largest decline in shipments (12.2 percent), while the Middle East and Africa declined 14.7 percent in terms of revenue.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) led the worldwide server market based on revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The company ended the year with $3.4 billion in revenue for a total share of 22.9 percent worldwide. However, revenue was down 11 percent compared with the same quarter in 2015.

Of the top five global vendors, only Dell and Huawei exhibited growth for the quarter, increasing 1.8 percent and 88.4 percent, respectively.

Dell grew 6.5 percent and moved into the top position in worldwide server shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016, with 19.1 percent of the market. (IANS)

 

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More than 70 Global Experts from Malaria Elimination Group gather for the Annual meet in Chennai

According to WHO, India has nearly halved the number of reported malaria cases between 2000 and 2014 ,from two million to 1.1 million

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Female Anopheles mosquito which cause Malaria. Pixabay

Chennai, December 7, 2016: In a bid to help efforts towards a malaria-free India, more than 70 global experts from the Malaria Elimination Group — an independent international advisory group — gathered here on Wednesday for their annual meet.

Convened by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the three-day event will see experts discuss strategies to shrink the global malaria map and take stock of India’s aim to eliminate the disease by 2030.

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India’s goal aligns with the World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for elimination and the 2014 East Asia Summit pledge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 17 other leaders to achieve a malaria-free Asia-Pacific region by 2030.

“India’s recent success in eliminating polio shows what can be done when political commitment is strong,” Sir Richard Feachem from the Global Health Group at UCSF said in a statement on Wednesday.

“With vigorous action in the low-burden states, and renewed efforts in all states, India can reach the historic goal of malaria-freedom by 2030,” Feachem added.

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India had the highest malaria burden in the Asia-Pacific region, with more than one billion people at risk of infection.

However, according to WHO, India has nearly halved the number of reported malaria cases between 2000 and 2014 — from two million to 1.1 million.

Some states and union territories (UTs) in India are clearly on the path to elimination, but others are not. Fifteen low- and 11 moderate-burden states/UTs in the country are targeting elimination by 2022.

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“We have been successful in reducing the incidence of malaria through the implementation of both national and state interventions,” noted A.C. Dhariwal, Director at the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in New Delhi.

The annual meeting of the Malaria Elimination Group in 2015 was held at Swaziland in Africa, in recognition of the country’s success in eliminating malaria. (IANS)