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Countering China, APEC endorses Trump’s vision

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APEC

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member states have endorsed the views of US President Donald Trump that seek to end protectionism and “unfair trade practices” in the final communique adopted at the APEC summit in Vietnam.While 11 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed to proceed ahead with the trade deal without the United States under a new name termed as Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products.The total trade of these 11 counttries amounted to $356 billion in 2016.

Concluding their two-day meeting, the leaders of the 21 member countries of APEC said in a joint statement, “We will work together to make trade more inclusive, support improved market access opportunities, and address unfair trade practices,We urgently call for the removal of market-distorting subsidies and other types of support by governments and related entities.”

Aimed at countering the China’s increasing dominance in Asia,US President Donald Trump shared its vision for the future of global trade at Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) meeting in Vietnam.Apec-a 21 member countries from the Pacific region is equivalent to about 60% of the world’s GDP.

Speaking about his Indo -Pacific policy, Trump reiterated his mission of putting America first and said US would no longer tolerate “chronic trade abuses” by Asian nations.Maintaning not to criticise Chinese President Xi Jinping,Trump preferred to blame his predecessors for having weak American trade laws.But his pledge to fight the audacious theft of intellectual property and the reference of state capitalism were directed at Beijing. Trump shows his diplomatic style with Xi by telling it wasn’t China’s fault but a US mistake and says he wanted a “constructive approach,” encouraging the two nations to “put aside and diffuse differences while at the same time building common ground.”

The final APEC communique bore the imprints of Trump’s preference for “bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements” rather than broad multilateral deals that had led to trade imbalances. Trump sharply condemned large multilateral trade deals during his keynote speech at the annual APEC leaders summit saying it had created trade imbalances as US lowered market barriers and ended tariffs .Trump had already pulled US out of the regional Trans-Pacific Partnership – a major trade deal with 12 Apec nations with an argument that it has damaged US economic interests.

For the first time, APEC countries have sharply criticised the World Trade Organisation and stressed for the need to introduce reforms in the international trade body so as to address unfair trade practices and bring effective monitoring system.

He said America would make bilateral agreements with “any Indo-Pacific partner who abides by fair reciprocal trade”, but only “on a basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit”.

Defending multilateral trade deals,Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Globalisation was an “irreversible historical trend” but the philosophy behind free trade needed to be re-purposed to be “more open, more balanced, more equitable and more beneficial to all”.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Theme, Date and history of the day

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It is celebrated on December 3 all around the world. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

IDPD mobilizes support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promotes awareness-raising about disability issues and draws attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.

UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector are motivated to support IDPD by collaborating with organizations for people with disabilities to arrange events and activities.

International Day of People with Disability: Theme

The theme for IDPwD 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

Every year the UN announces a theme to observe for International Day of People with Disability. The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities.

This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly announced 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

National Disability Strategy 2010–2020

In Australia, the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 commits all governments to a nationwide approach aimed at improving the lives of disabled people, their families and carers.

The Strategy’s ten-year national framework for reform concentrates on better inclusion for people with disabilities and seeks to create a society that enables people with disabilities to fulfill their potential as equal citizens.

On the 2012 International Day of People with Disability, the United Kingdom government introduced mandatory work for disabled people who received welfare benefits in order to “Improve disabled peoples chances of getting work by mandatory employment”.

A program is also launched on December 3 across India to serve the differently-able community of the country as an initiative called Accessible India Campaign under the Article 9 of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

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BJP leaders brainstorm for second day, say govt ready for talks with farmers

Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Agriculture Minister Narender Singh Tomar earlier in the day to discuss the strategy to break the logjam.

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Farmers on Protest

Eager to break the deadlock with famers who are agitating for scrapping the new farm laws, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership held meetings for a second consecutive day on Monday and sent out the message that the Union government is ready for talks.

Union home minister Amit Shah met Union minister for agriculture, NS Tomar earlier in the day to discuss the strategy to break the logjam. A senior party functionary said, “The message from the top is clear that the laws are not anti-farmers and that the farmers are being misled. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated that laws will offer better opportunity for the farmers.”

The functionary said the government is ready to sit across the table and discuss the new laws and “address whatever concerns” the farmers have.

Speaking in Varanasi, the PM on Monday said the laws have given farmers new options and legal protection. He lashed out at the opposition for “misleading” the farmers and said earlier decisions of government were opposed now rumours have become the basis for opposition and propaganda is being served even though the laws favour the farmers.

The party has also opted for a cautious, measured response to the agitation. Even though it is pinning the blame on the opposition for provoking the protest, it is taking care not to rile the farmers. “The farmers are innocent. They are being misled by those with vested interests. The laws have barely been implemented and their impact is yet to be ascertained, so how can people rush to call these anti-farmers,” said Rajkuamr Chahar, head of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha.

He said the Punjab unit of the Morcha has been communicating with the farmers’ representatives and has relayed the government’s willingness to address their concerns.

On Monday, even as the party tried to diffuse the anger against the bills, its ally the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) joined the chorus for the rollback of the laws. Rajasthan lawmaker and RLP chief, Hanuman Beniwal, shot off a letter to Shah, seeking the reversal of the laws.

“….In view of the countrywide sentiment in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement, the recently introduced three bills related to agriculture should be immediately withdrawn. (The Centre must) implement all recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, and immediately hold dialogue with farmers in Delhi,” he said.

The BJP, however, played down the ally’s demand. Its national spokesperson on economic issues, Gopal Krishna Agarwal said, “We assure all, including our NDA partners that farmers’ well-being and welfare are in our heart. Large scale market reforms are needed and that has always been the consensus.”

He went on to add that while the BJP opposes misgivings about the APMC mandis being dismantled and MSP being withdrawn, the opposition is politicizing the issue along with the Arhtiyas (commission agents) and middleman.

“We have offered all the basic facilities to farmers, drinking water, toilets, shelters and medical facilities. They have been given permission to protest and also been invited for dialogue. We are open for all discussions on the merits or demerits of the three bills. If farmers have certain serious concerns, we are ready to listen to them,” he said.

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Lunar Eclipse: Chant these mantras for peace during Chandra Grahan

Check out the Chandra Beej Mantra, Dhanvantari Mantra, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and Shanti Path given below to ward off the ill-effects of this celestial movement.

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Lunar eclipse

Lunar Eclipse 2020: The fourth and the last Upachaya Chandra Grahan (Penumbral Lunar Eclipse) of 2020 will take place today. Though Sutak is not applicable during Upachaya Chandra Grahan, the constant movements of the Grahas (planets) may cast an impact on zodiac signs. It may influence people’s natal charts. Hence, people must chant mantras to negate the negative effect of Grahan.

The Lunar Eclipse will have a duration of 4 hours and 18 minutes. It will begin on Monday at 1.04 pm and reach its peak at 3.13 pm. The Lunar Eclipse will end at 5.22 pm and will have a magnitude of 0.82.

Check out the Chandra Beej Mantra, Dhanvantari Mantra, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and Shanti Path given below to ward off the ill-effects of this celestial movement.

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