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Trinidad to commemorate first International Yoga Day in a grand manner

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Port-of-Spain: Trinidad and Tobago will join the 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA) in marking International Yoga Day on Sunday, June 21, at a gala function in the Daaga Auditorium, University of West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine.

Indian High Commissioner Gauri Shankar Gupta told in a press conference at the Trinidad Hilton on Monday that the high commission, the UN offices and the government of Trinidad and Tobago will be organizing a week-long awareness programme commencing on June 15 to commemorate the First International Day of Yoga.

Several local yoga groups are also involved, he said. Some 15 yoga centres here are all participating in this exercise comprising people of different ethnic groups.

“Prominent personalities, including government ministers, are expected to grace the occasion and share their views with the participants. The yoga masters will talk about the benefits of yoga and will demonstrate a number of easy poses,” Gupta said.

The high commissioner said that this celebration is in keeping with a unanimous decision by the UNGA to establish June 21 annually as “International Day of Yoga”.

He said that the declaration follows a call for the adoption of June 21 as International Yoga Day by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the UNGA on September 27 last year.

“Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on Oneness of the universe. It is a profound science that enables us to understand individual and individual consciousness and the art of healthy living. This extremely subtle science is based on harmony between mind, body and soul and man and nature, thus designed to promote unity of thought and action and preservation of Mother Nature leading to harmonious existence, contentment and happiness,” Gupta added.

Modi had told the UNGA that June 21 was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. This initiative found support from many global leaders and more than 175 countries, including the US, Canada and, Trinidad and Tobago co-sponsored the resolution as it had the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such nature, Gupta noted.

“Yoga remains an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition for over 6000 years. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change,” Gupta added. (IANS)

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Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent.

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Australia, Coal
The Liddell coal-fired power station is seen in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia. VOA

Australia is rejecting the latest U.N. report on climate change, insisting coal remains critical to energy security and lowering household power bills.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its report released Monday that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach zero by the middle of the century to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The authors warned that if warming was allowed to reach two degrees, the world would be on course toward uncontrollable temperatures.

Climate change, Australia
The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Georgia. VOA

They made special mention of coal, insisting that its use for power generation would have to fall to between zero and two percent of current usage.

The report has received a lukewarm response by Australia’s center-right government. It has said it has no intention of scaling back fossil fuel production because without coal, household power bills would soar.

Canberra also insists it is on target to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement, which attempts to unite every nation under a single accord to tackle climate change for the first time ever.

Australia earns billions of dollars exporting coal to China and other parts of Asia, while it generates more than 60 percent of domestic electricity.

Queensland, Australia
FILE – A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Australia’s Environment Minister Melissa Price believes the IPCC report exaggerates the threat posed by fossil fuel.

“Coal does form a very important part of the Australian energy mixer and we make no apology for the fact that our focus at the moment is on getting electricity prices down,” Price said. “Every year, there is new technology with respect to coal and what its contribution is to emissions. So, you know, to say that it has got to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow.”

Australia has some of the world’s highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas pollution. A recent government report showed a failure to reduce levels of greenhouse gas pollution. The survey said that between January and March this year, Australia had its most elevated levels of carbon pollution since 2011.

Coal, Australia
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

Conservationists argue Australia is doing too little to protect itself from the predicted ravages of a shifting climate.

Also Read: Use Every Resources To Help in Climate Change: Scientists

Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent. Scientists warn that droughts, floods, heat waves, brush fires and storms will become more intense as temperatures rise, with potentially disastrous consequences for human health and the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef. (VOA)