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India reiterates its pledge to climate change agreement

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United Nation: Speaking at the General Assembly on Thursday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said “India has always been and is a willing partner in global efforts towards the goal of limiting greenhouse gases”.

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“We will play our due role in reaching a meaningful, equitable and effective agreement in Paris,” she added.

India is expected to release on Friday its much anticipated commitments on combating climate change known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The document was due on Thursday, but India got an extension so it can be released on Gandhi Jayanti, that falls on October 2.

“Our future must rest on building a sustainable planet for our children and our children’s children,” she said.

“As we prepare to meet in two months time in Paris, the world expects us to deliver an ambitious and credible agreement on climate change. We have a duty for common action but in doing so we must keep in mind the larger historical contribution of some and the differentiated responsibility of others.”

Stressing India’s emphasis on equity in climate change negotiations, she said: “If today Mahatma Gandhi was among us, he would ask if we have used the resources of the planet for our needs or for our greed?”

“Also, if adapting our lifestyle choices and reducing extravagant consumption would help us correct the course. For this reason, the agreement in Paris needs to be comprehensive and equitable, while delivering concrete action.”

She said developed nations should provide developing countries finance, technology transfer and capacity building support for dealing with climate change.

“India’s reverence for the environment is based on our traditions that have always held nature as sacred,” she said.

“The health of the planet is tied to our own well-being and it is this holistic approach that guided us in our call for the First International Day of Yoga, celebrated with much fervor in 192 countries of the world — indeed in this very hallowed institution.”

For global development Swaraj invoked girl power: “As a woman and an elected Member of Parliament, it has been my firm conviction that there is a shortcut to real social change – empowering the girl child.”

“Our Government’s policy of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (Educate the Girl Child, Empower

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her) was conceived with this vision,” she said.

She further said in her speech that as a nuclear weapon state, India is aware of its responsibility and its support for global, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament has not diminished.

India remains committed to continue supporting the UN Peacekeeping Operations and enhance contributions, as announced by Modi at the Peace Keeping Operations Summit. India calls for the Security Council to formulate its peacekeeping mandates in consultation with troop-providing countries.

Since Prime Minister Modi’s election, India has undergone a renewal that has enabled it to “play its rightful role in international affairs while also becoming the fastest growing major economy in the world”.

Noting that the world has eradicated small pox and, nearly, polio and curbed HIV/AIDS and Ebola she said “we are proud that India played its due part in these efforts. But we must … redouble our efforts at eradicating other health crises, whether it be tuberculosis or malaria.”

Mentioning India’s speedy response to humanitarian crises in its neighborhood she further said, “whether it was (earthquake in) Nepal or (civil war in) Yemen, India has emerged as a net security provider, assisting not only our nationals but those of other countries that sought our help”.

India has reached out to its extended neighborhood as well. The Act East policy has replaced the Look East one, “with more vigorous and proactive engagement with an economically vibrant region”. Recently, India held a Summit with 14 Pacific Island nations. This complements the Link West engagement, Swaraj mentioned.

Expressing India’s commitment to the Middle East Peace Process she said, “curbing the terrorism is the key to prevent further radicalization of the region”.

Later this month, India will host the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit, the first time that the leaders of all 54 countries of the continent have been invited.

(Arul Louis, IANS)

 

 

 

 

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The Young Miracle: Baby In Congo Suffering From Ebola Recovers

The latest WHO assessment, released Thursday, simply calls the circumstances "unforgiving."

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Ebola, baby
- In this photograph taken Dec. 3, 2018, and released by UNICEF, an Ebola survivor cares for one-week-old Benedicte who was infected at birth with the Ebola virus by her mother, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

They call her the “young miracle.” A baby who was admitted to an Ebola treatment center just six days after birth has now recovered from the virus.

Congo’s health ministry calls the baby the youngest survivor in what is now the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak.

The ministry late Thursday tweeted a photo of the infant, swaddled and with her tiny mouth open in yawn or squall, surrounded by caregivers who watched over her 24 hours a day for weeks.

The baby’s mother, who had Ebola, died in childbirth, the ministry said.

The infant was discharged Wednesday from the treatment center in Beni. “She went home in the arms of her father and her aunt,” the ministry said.

 

Ebola, baby
Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient, inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

 

Experts have reported high numbers of children with Ebola in this outbreak, which Congo’s health ministry says has 515 cases, 467 of them confirmed, including 255 confirmed deaths.

 

The tiny survivor is named Benedicte. In video footage shared by UNICEF, she is shown in an isolated treatment area, cradled in the arms of health workers in protective gear or cuddled by Ebola survivors, called “nounous,” who can go without certain gear such as masks. The survivors are crucial with their reassuring presence, the health ministry said.

“This is my first child,” her father, Thomas, said. “I truly don’t want to lose her. She is my hope.” He gazed at his baby daughter through the clear protective plastic.

Infected children

Children now account for more than one-third of all cases in this outbreak, UNICEF said earlier this week. One in 10 Ebola cases is in a child under 5 years old, it said, and children who contract the hemorrhagic fever are at greater risk of dying than adults.

Ebola, Baby
A health care worker carries a cross next to a coffin with a baby suspected of dying of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 13, 2018. VOA

While Ebola typically infects adults, as they are most likely to be exposed to the lethal virus, children have been known in some instances to catch the disease when they act as caregivers.

Few cases of Ebola in babies have historically been reported, but experts suspect transmission might happen via breast milk or close contact with infected parents. Ebola is typically spread by infected bodily fluids.

The World Health Organization also has noted that health centers have been identified as a source of Ebola transmission in this outbreak, with injections of medications “a notable cause.”

Dangerous conditions

So far, more than 400 children have been left orphaned or unaccompanied in this outbreak as patients can spend weeks in treatment centers, UNICEF said. A kindergarten has opened next to one treatment center in Beni “to assist the youngest children whose parents are isolated” there, it said.

Congo, Ebola, Women, Baby
Marie-Roseline Darnycka Belizaire, World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiology Team Lead, talks to women as part of Ebola contact tracing, in Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Health experts have said this Ebola outbreak, the 10th in Congo, is like no other as they face the threat of attack from armed groups and resistance from a wary population in a region that had never faced an Ebola outbreak before. Tracking suspected contacts of Ebola victims remains a challenge in areas controlled by rebels.

Also Read: Women Hit Especially Hard In Congo’s Worst Ebola Outbreak

The latest WHO assessment, released Thursday, simply calls the circumstances “unforgiving.”

And now, Congo is set to hold a presidential election Dec. 23, with unrest already brewing. (VOA)