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WHO researching to integrate yoga with universal health care for healthier world

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New Delhi: Thousands of participants performs Yoga during a full dress rehearsal for the International Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 19, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

United Nations: The World Health Organization is researching how to integrate yoga with universal health care needs, according to Nata Menabde, the agency’s executive director at the UN office.

It was a struggle to standardise yoga for use around the world as part of health care systems because of its many different schools of practice, but WHO was working with centres in India and elsewhere to find ways to do this, she told reporters at a briefing here on Sunday’s International Day of Yoga.

Calling yoga the “ancient Vedic gift to the world”, she stressed its ability to bring together body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health.

Yoga is an ideal medium to deal with lifestyle disorders, she said, citing as an example studies in applying it to deal with cardiovascular diseases in Russia that WHO has seen.

It can also help in coping with stress and treating mental disorders by helping people develop “inner resilience”, Menabde said.

In Goa, yoga was being combined with other therapies to treat mental illness and it was showing results, she said.

She said she saw a growing role for yoga as the world’s proportion of ageing population increases. Ageing becomes healthier because of the ease of practice and the impact on both body and mind.

It has also been shown to help with arthritis and various other illnesses.

India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said that the International Day of Yoga celebrations on Sunday would connect the UN with the world outside by linking the observances inside headquarter’s open plaza with the mass yoga performances at New York’s Times Square and around the world.

Every year a yoga event is organised at the Times Square on the summer solstice day by the city’s yoga community and the Times Square Alliance. This year it will be a part of the International Day of Yoga and is expected to draw 30,000 people, he said.

The celebrations in 256 cities across 192 cities would touch two billion people, Mukerji. They would take place in even strife-torn places like Syria and the Central African Republic and the only country not able to participate would be Yemen, he said.

Mukerji said yoga assumed a special meaning this year because of the focus on climate change and the international conference in Paris in December.

The General Assembly’s resolution creating yoga day, he said, spoke of its role in “building better individual lifestyles devoid of excesses of all kinds”.

Yoga’s relevance to preserving the environment and combating climate change, Menabde said, is in helping to reflect on what is important and realise the minimalist needs.

This leads one to “be less destructive to the world and to the people around you”, she said.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to give the keynote address at the yoga day UN celebrations.

Asked if Ban would participate in the yoga demonstration, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said he may participate in some fashion.

In his message about the celebrations, Ban said that he had tried the Vrksasana — the tree pose — and “appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring”. (IANS)

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China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Donald Trump to accuse China and Russia as their currency manipulators

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
FILE IMAGE- Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday it is unacceptable that Russia and China are devaluating their currencies, days after the Treasury Department declined to label these countries as currency manipulators in its latest report.

Amid a possible new round of sanctions against Russia and a simmering trade war with China, Trump tweeted Monday morning, “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!

In general, when a country artificially devaluates its currency, its exports become cheaper and more competitive in the global marketplace.

The currencies of U.S, China and Russia.
FILE – The U.S. dollar, Indonesian rupiah and Chinese renminbi currencies are displayed in the poster of a money exchange shop in Jakarta, June 12, 2013. VOA

During his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly accused China of lowering the value of its currency and vowed to formally label China as a currency manipulator, but so far has failed to do so.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the administration is closely watching China’s currency practices. “That’s something that the Treasury Department is watching very closely and we’re continuing to monitor it,” she said Monday.

In a semiannual report titled “Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States” released last Friday, the Treasury Department did not designate China as a currency manipulator, but put it as one of the six countries on a monitoring list. The other five countries on the list are Japan, Korea, India, Germany, and Switzerland. Russia is not on the monitoring list. The Chinese currency, the renminbi, has appreciated over 3 percent against the dollar since the beginning of this year, after strengthening by over 6 percent in 2017.

Also Read: Trump: US ‘Being Stolen’ by Illegal Migrants

Brad Setser,a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Treasury Department official said in an interview with VOA he does not think it is an accurate complaint that Russia and China are playing the currency game.

“The Russian ruble was actually quite stable before the sanctions on Russia were intensified. It’s quite clear the volatility in the ruble is a function of the intensification of U.S. sanctions, a sign that the sanctions are biting,” he explained.

Setser said over the past several months, the Chinese yuan has actually appreciated, and China has not been intervening heavily.

“There are plenty of things to criticize China for on trade, but right now, there’s no real basis for criticizing China on currency,” he noted.

Russia's Central Bank Chief.
Russia’s Central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina presents the new 2,000 and 200 ruble banknotes in Moscow on Oct. 12, 2017. VOA

In the past three years, the Federal Reserve raised interest rate six times to a range between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent, and said they expect to raise the rate two or three more times this year.

Usually, when a country raises its interest rates, the value of its currency rises, making its exports more expensive and less competitive. However, higher U.S. interest rates have not raised the value of the dollar.

“The interesting puzzle that the market has been pondering for the past several months is that the dollar has actually weakened even as the U.S. has raised rates, and even as U.S. passed legislation to expand the fiscal deficit,” Setser said.

Also Read: This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Economic Analysis at the Treasury Department Setser stressed the United States should not label China as a currency manipulator at this moment.

“It would undermine the United States’ credibility to name China at a point in time when there is no plausible case that China is managing its exchange rate in a way that is adverse to the U.S. interest,” he said.  VOA