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The G20 global summit being held in Osaka in Japan where leaders from 19 countries and the European Union will deliberate on three international issues: free and fair trade, the digital economy, and tackling environmental problems with innovation including demographics at a time of unsettling friction.

The aim of G20 is to establish economic fundamentals for realizing sustainable and inclusive growth of the global economy so as to respond to the global financial crisis.

In a Op-ed, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe G20 message is that Japan aims to “realize and promote a free and open, inclusive and sustainable, human-centered future society” and recognizes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as being at the core of the development agenda and other global issues.

Osaka Summit will focus on global economy, trade and investment, innovation, environment and energy, employment, women’s empowerment, development, and health.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived in Japan for the two-day G20 Summit in Osaka and said that issues such as women empowerment, artificial intelligence and common efforts to address challenges like terrorism will be high on his agenda.

But India is tackling with unemployment as the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) job survey for 2017-18 had shown a spike in the unemployment rate to over 6 per cent, a 45-year high, but the report was not released by the government, which termed it as a draft report.
The G-20 is a forum for economic cooperation where leaders deliberate to resolve the crisis during global instability.

Modi meets Japanese PM

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said both the leaders discussed Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed railway as well as the convention centre in Varanasi. Both leaders held review of progress in this regard .
PM Modi and Japan PM would meet again tomorrow for a trilateral meeting between Japan, India & US, there was a brief discussion on the Indo-Pacific initiative that all three countries are separately pursuing and discussing together.

PM Abe referred specifically to PM Modi’s initiative in earlier G20 meetings on the issue of fugitive economic offenders and he said that G20 should deal with this problem as part of its anti-corruption measures

PM Modi will also participate in the Russia-India-China (RIC) and the Japan-America-India (JAI) trilaterals, as well as in the meeting of BRICS leaders.

Ahead of U.S. President meeting with Indian PM, Donald Trump called on Narendra Modi to withdraw recently imposed tariffs, saying “this is unacceptable.”
USA President Donald Trump said, “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the tariffs must be withdrawn!”

No agenda has been announced for the Modi-Trump meeting but the two leaders can be expected to discuss trade, Russia arms deal which has emerged as the key irritant between the two sides that have otherwise seen growing convergence on a host of issues, including strategic ties with an emphasis on a free and open Indo-Pacific, defence cooperation and counter-terrorism.

The Prime Minister’s Japan trip comes a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Delhi, met him and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar Pompeo admitted to Washington having a divergence of view with New Delhi on issues such as trade, but downplayed it by saying that “great friends are bound to have differences”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two-day Osaka summit that begins on Friday will also be an important stepping stone for India towards hosting the G20 summit in 2022 “when we usher in a New India in the 75th anniversary year of our Independence”.
“The summit will provide an important opportunity to reiterate and reinforce our strong support to reformed multilateralism, which is crucial for preserving rule-based international order in today’s fast-changing world,” Modi said.

PM Modi released a statement stating that he looks forward to discuss the major challenges and opportunities faced by the world today with other nations. “Women Empowerment, issues related to digitalization and artificial intelligence, and progress in achieving SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and in our common efforts to address major global challenges such as terrorism and climate change form the rich agenda of the Summit,” he said.

“The Summit will provide an important opportunity to reiterate and reinforce our strong support to reformed multilateralism, which is crucial for preserving rule-based international order in today’s fast changing world. The Summit will also be a platform for sharing India’s strong developmental experience of the last five years, which provided the basis for a resounding mandate by the people of India to the Government to continue on the path to progress and stability,” added PM Modi.

Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

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India’s Q3 GDP expected to inch-up above 4.5%

India Ratings and Research gave a forecast of 4.7 per cent for Q3 GDP.

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slowdown in global economic growth

New Delhi, Feb 27 : India’s third quarter 2019-20 GDP growth rate is expected to inch up on the back of rising inflation, along with a modest uptick in the momentum of services and industry.

Several economists polled by IANS said that GDP growth rate is seen in the range of 4.6-4.8 per cent for the third quarter from 4.5 per cent reported for the second quarter of the current fiscal.

Various indicators like air passenger traffic, railways’ freight revenue and commercial vehicles’ sales have shown improvement in Q3FY20 against weak performance in Q2FY20.

The macro-economic data point of the national income and the GDP will be released on Friday.

“We expect the GDP Q3 number to be 4.8 per cent. Since no major improvement was observed among leading indicators, market expectations remain subdued,” said Karan Mehrishi, Lead Economist at Acuite Ratings and Research.

“Generally, Q3 is one of the strongest quarters in a financial year because the inclusion of festive seasons sales and kharif harvest-driven rural consumption, this time, however, nothing noteworthy is foreseen.”

Besides, he pointed out that capacity utilisation levels have also fallen.

“Fresh capex looks unlikely and investments will be moderate driven by the public sector. We are however mindful of the inflation trajectory moving forward,” Mehrishi said.

India Ratings and Research gave a forecast of 4.7 per cent for Q3 GDP.

Edelweiss Securities’ Economist Madhavi Arora said: “We expect a marginal shallow pick up in 3Q, amid still-sluggish corporate earnings and weak industrial sector.”

“While government spending has been a respite for the services sector, its’ contribution to growth will also decline marginally. We expect 3Q GDP to print around 4.6-4.7 per cent.”

Meanwhile, ICRA expects the GDP and the gross value added (GVA) growth at basic prices to rise mildly to 4.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively, in Q3FY20, from 4.5 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively, in Q2FY20.

“Some industrial and service sectors displayed a pickup in YoY volume growth in Q3FY20 relative to the previous quarter, while the output of kharif crops displayed a mixed trend,” its principal economist Aditi Nayar said.

“Lower raw material costs, high growth of the government’s non-interest revenue expenditure and the stable profitability metrics revealed by the earnings of some banks would provide a cushion to the pace of economic growth,” she said.

However, the extent and duration of coronavirus outbreak would test the sustainability of the nascent upturn in growth in the ongoing quarter.

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Cannabis use rises among the elderly, finds study

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

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Cannabis

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Cannabis use continues to increase in popularity among adults of 65 years of age and older in the United States, according to a new study.

Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine estimates that cannabis use in adults aged 65 and older increased from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent in the United States — a significant increase of 75 percent — between 2015 and 2018.

With the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in many states in the US, medical professionals are studying its use in treating a number of chronic health conditions. Since 1996, 31 states have legalized medical marijuana, while 11 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational use.

The survey categorized cannabis use by asking whether marijuana, hashish, pot, grass, or hash oil was either smoked or ingested.

Researchers observed trends in prevalence of past-year cannabis use, broken down by sociodemographic background, chronic disease, healthcare utilization, and other substance use among adults age 65 and older, in the United States, between 2015 and 2018.

Certain subsets of this population saw an even higher rise in prevalence. For example, researchers estimated that past-year use more than doubled by older adults with diabetes, among those who have received mental health treatment, and those reporting past-year alcohol use.

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

Researchers say they next plan to acquire more detailed information about how medical marijuana affects older populations, its risks and side effects.

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Ground Zero: A dangerous mix of politics and police inaction?

Eyewitness say when the pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed, the police remained a mute spectator.

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Maujpur anti CAA Violence

New Delhi, Feb 24 : After all, the sudden quiet at Shaheen Bagh, on the boil for over two months, was deeply deceptive, if you look at the way how the protest — for and against the new citizenship law — spilled out to north-east of Delhi, with the police yet again failing to read the situation.

Many locals say the violence at Maujpur-Jafrabad in north-east Delhi erupted soon after BJP leader Kapil Mishra took out a march on Sunday in support of the Controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as against the anti-CAA women protesters who had blocked the road at Jafrabad metro station.

The police stepped in when Kapil Mishra addressed the crowd, sources said. He was flanked by the Deputy Commissioner of Police clad in full riot gear. Some people cite a video clip that shows the BJP leader giving an “ultimatum” to the police, saying “he will come back after the visiting US President leaves India”.

“But the DCP did not act,” said a local resident.

Stone-pelting soon started on the crowd protesting against CAA at Jafrabad.

But how does Kapil Mishra get into the picture? The Karawal Nagar (another north-east Delhi locality) politician was in the AAm AAdmi Party and had switched to the BJP just days before the Delhi polls. He contested from Karawal Nagar, but lost.

A few days back, scores of Jafrabad residents had let it be known that on Saturday (February 22), they would start a march to Rajghat. They were responding to an appeal by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad who had called for ‘Bharat bandh’ on Sunday. On saturday, the women protesters were stopped midway, but soon they were at Jafrabad Metro station, blocking the road and the metro station.

Eyewitness say when the pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed, the police remained a mute spectator.

The situation turned uglier: On Monday the violence reached the lanes and by-lanes of some localities where passers-by were beaten up if they did not tell their names to aggressive groups of men.

Many pictures and videos of violence have gone viral where unidentified people have been seen brandishing guns as policemen look on. A head constable, Ratan Lal, lost his life on Monday after being hit by rioters.

The violence has spread to Chand Bagh, Khureji in east Delhi and Hauz Rani in south Delhi and fear stalks the roads. Yet no one knows how it all started and when and how it will end.

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