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GES 2017 : Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad charms the women centric Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by India and United States

Being invited by Prime Minister Modi, Ivanka Trump is in Hyderabad for GES 2017. The event is focused on women entrepreneurs from all across the globe, this is the first time GES is being held in South Asian country

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Ivanka Trump visited India for GES 2017
Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad (VOA)
  • Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi at GES 2017, Ivanka Trump said,”from your childhood selling tea to becoming PM, you’ve proven that transformational change is possible.”

  • Prime Minister Modi emphasising on bilateral relations said,”the GES 2017 event not only connects the Silicon Valley with Hyderabad but also showcases the close ties between the US and India.”

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump arrived Hyderabad to attend Global Entrepreneurship Summit, GES 2017 co-hosted by India and the United States. The three-day summit, from November 28-30, is being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) and Hyderabad International Trade Expositions (Hitex).

Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad
Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (VOA)

Ms Ivanka Trump is leading a delegation of senior White House officials and American entrepreneurs. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’ and will include 1,200 young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, mostly women.

“I encourage everyone here to come together, learn from each other and find new ways to lift barriers in our society so that women are free to innovate, empowered to succeed and able to leave our children a brighter future,” Ivanka Trump told delegates in the event’s opening speech Tuesday.

Ivanka’s appearance with Modi at the opening of GES 2017 was preceded by a bilateral meeting which the Prime Minister Modi described as “wonderful”, before they went out to meet entrepreneurs who showcased their work for presentation. Being women centric event, two of the India’s most powerful women External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman were also present.

GES 2017 : Ivanka Trump in India
Ivanka Trump with Prime Minister Modi (Narendra Modi Twitter)

The summit began with cultural events showcasing India’s rich culture. This year’s summit theme clearly demonstrated the commitment of the India and United states to the principle that when women are economically empowered, their communities and countries thrive. India is one of the country where women are at highest pedestals in social and professional life.

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Ivanka also gave credit to the Modi government for lifting 130 million people out of poverty. “Women still face steep obstacles in starting, owning and growing their businesses. We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors,” Ivanka said to loud cheers from a packed enthusiastic audience.

Ivanka’s visit also affirms that the Trump administration sees India as a major strategic partner in south asia and wants to engage with India more. Growing trade and business between India and United States sends a strong signal to the world.

by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Whale-Watching, a Growing Business around Japan

People packed the decks of the Japanese whale-watching boat, screaming in joy as a pod of orcas put on a show

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Tourists on a whale watching tour boat look for whales in the sea near Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan, July 1, 2019. VOA

People packed the decks of the Japanese whale-watching boat, screaming in joy as a pod of orcas put on a show: splashing tails at each other, rolling over, and leaping out of the water.

In Kushiro, just 160 kilometers south of Rausu, where the four dozen people laughed and cheered, boats were setting off on Japan’s first commercial whale hunt in 31 years.

Killed that day were two minke whales, which the boats in Rausu also search for glimpses of – a situation that whale-watching boat captain Masato Hasegawa confessed had him worried.

“They won’t come into this area – it’s a national park – or there’d be big trouble,” the 57-year-old former pollock fisherman said. “And the whales we saw today, the sperm whales and orcas, aren’t things they hunt.”

Whale, Business, Japan
Whale-watching boat captain Masato Hasegawa speaks with other boats in order to look for whales in the sea near Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan, July 1, 2019. VOA

“But we also watch minkes,” he added. “If they take a lot in the (nearby) Sea of Okhotsk, we could well see a change, and that would be too bad for whale watching.”

Whale-watching is a growing business around Japan, with popular spots from the southern Okinawa islands up to Rausu, a fishing village on the island of Hokkaido, so far north that it’s closer to Russia than to Tokyo.

The number of whale watchers around Japan has more than doubled between 1998 and 2015, the latest year for which national data is available. One company in Okinawa had 18,000 customers between January and March this year.

In Rausu, 33,451 people packed tour boats last year for whale and bird watching, up 2,000 from 2017 and more than 9,000 higher than 2016. Many stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants, and buy local products such as sea urchins and seaweed.

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“Of the tourist boat business, 65 percent is whale watching,” said Ikuyo Wakabayashi, executive director of the Shiretoko Rausu Tourism Association, who says the numbers grow substantially each year.

“You don’t just see one type of whale here, you see lots of them,” she said. “Whale-watching is a huge tourist resource for Rausu and this will continue, I hope.”

Wakabayashi was drawn to Rausu by whale-watching; a native of the western city of Osaka, she fell in love with the area after three trips there to see orcas.

“I thought this was an incredible place,” she said. “Winters are tough, but it’s so beautiful.”

Whale, Business, Japan
A heavy shroud of morning mist fills a port in Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan, July 2, 2019. VOA

Hasegawa, who says he has a waiting list of customers in high season, has ordered a second boat.

“Right now, the lifestyle we have is good,” Hasegawa said. “Better than it would have been with fishing.”

Small Industry

The five whaling vessels moored at Kushiro port on Sunday, the night before the hunt resumed, were well-used and well-maintained. Crew members came and went, carrying groceries or towels, heading for a public bath.

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Barely 300 people are directly involved with whaling around Japan, and though the government maintains whale meat is an important part of food culture, the amount consumed annually has fallen to only 0.1 percent of total meat consumption.

Yet Japan, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – himself from a whaling district – left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and returned to commercial whaling on July 1.

Whaling advocates, such as Yoshifumi Kai, head of the Japan Small-type Whaling Association, celebrated the hunt.

“We endured for 31 years, but now it’s all worth it,” he said in Kushiro on Monday night after the first minkes were brought in to be butchered. “They’ll be whaling for a week here, we may have more.”

Whale, Business, Japan
A captured Minke whale is unloaded after commercial whaling at a port in Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, July 1, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

Everybody acknowledges that rebuilding demand could be tough after decades of whale being a pricey, hard-to-find food.

Consumption was widespread after World War II, when an impoverished Japan needed cheap protein, but fell off after the early 1960s as other meat grew cheaper.

“Japan has so much to eat now that food is thrown out, so we don’t expect demand for whale will rise that fast,” said Kazuo Yamamura, president of the Japan Whaling Association.

“But looking to the future, if you don’t eat whale, you forget that it’s a food,” he said. “If you eat it in school lunches, you’ll remember that, you’ll remember that it’s good.”

Whale, Business, Japan
A killer whale swims in the sea near Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan, July 1, 2019. VOA

Pro-whaling lawmaker Kiyoshi Ejima said that subsidies were unlikely, but that the government should be careful not to let the industry founder. About 5.1 billion yen ($47.31 million) was budgeted for whaling in 2019.

“If we pull away our hands too soon, a lot of companies will fail,” he added.

The goal of selling whale throughout Japan may be impractical, said Joji Morishita, Japan’s former IWC commissioner.

“The alternative … is to just limit the supply of whale meat to some of the major places in Japan that have a good tradition of whale eating,” Morishita said, adding that the meat is difficult to thaw and cook.

In areas for which whaling is a tradition, this niche market could promote tourism, which Abe has made a pillar of his economic plan.

“Whale eating in a sense is ideal – it’s different, it’s well-known, and for better or worse, it’s very famous,” Morishita said. “Taking advantage of this IWC withdrawal, I think there are business chances that are viable.”

Whales Up Close

For Rausu, on Hokkaido’s remote Shiretoko Peninsula, the viable business is whale watching.

Foxes run through the streets of the city’s downtown, which clings to a narrow strip of land below mountains and faces the Nemuro Strait. Summer often brings thick fog, while winter storms can leave waist-high drifts.

Though fishing was long Rausu’s economic backbone, the industry has taken a hit from declining fish stocks, which locals blame on Russian trawlers and falling prices. The population has dropped by several hundred annually, slipping below 5,000 this year.

Hasegawa, a fourth-generation fisherman, began his tour boat business in 2006. Though the first few years were a struggle, he is now happy with his choice as Rausu’s reputation grows globally.

On a recent weekday, customers packed the parking lot at a wharf lined with squid-fishing boats, waiting to board Hasegawa’s boat and those of three other companies. Hasegawa’s customers came from all over Japan and several foreign countries.

“Today there were more (whale) jumps than usual; it was fantastic,” said Kiyoko Ogi, a 47-year-old Tokyo bus driver who’s been whale-watching in Rausu three times. “I’m really opposed to commercial whaling; seeing whales close is so exciting.”

Whale hunting was never big in Rausu, and though Hasegawa said there once was “trouble” with people hunting small Baird’s beaked whales nearby, those fishermen now stay far from the tours and will tell him where to find orcas and sperm whales.

But he’s dubious about whether demand for whale meat will ever pick up. Restaurants and hotels in Rausu avoid serving it.

“We get a lot of kids in summer vacations. If you tell them on the boat that ‘this is the whale we ate last night,’ they’d cry,” he said.

“If they serve whale, nobody from overseas will come, especially Europeans,” he added. “Given that the national government is trying to woo overseas tourists so much, its thinking (on whaling) seems a bit wrong.”

($1 = 107.7900 yen). (VOA)