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Duterte signs Paris pact on climate change

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change restricting greenhouse gas emissions, putting the deal one step closer to ratification in the country, a senator said on Wednesday. The agreement, which came into force on November 4, aims to transform the world’s fossil-fuel-driven economy within decades and slow the pace of a global temperature increase to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Manila has committed to reduce its emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but it will need technical and financial support to achieve it. The firebrand leader had threatened he would not honor the agreement since he believed it would hurt the country’s efforts to industrialize. In November he relented, citing a “cabinet decision” to support the deal.

German FM Gabriel expresses doubts on NATO defense spending target

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters in Estonia on Wednesday that NATO had not agreed on every nation in the alliance having to meet a rigid target of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense. “I have a concern that politicians make public promises that they can’t fulfill later on,” Gabriel said. He said that NATO had merely agreed that member nations would make efforts to reach the 2 percent target. “There is no apodictic 2 percent goal but rather… we should be moving in that direction,” he said. Germany now spends 1.2 percent of GDP on defense. The issue has become a source of tension between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Gabriel’s Social Democrats, junior partners in the ruling coalition government. Merkel has said Germany needed to fulfill its commitment to boost defense spending to meet NATO’s target of 2 percent.media reports

Austria’s foreign minister suggests halving number of EU commissioners

Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has suggested efficiency measures for the EU including cutting the number of commissioners to 14 and abolishing two existing rules for each new rule it adopted, local media reported on Wednesday. Kurz told Austrian media that commissioners should be appointed according to a rota system among the member states, reports confirmed by a foreign ministry spokesman, rather than every member state providing its own commissioner. He also wants to strengthen the bloc’s common foreign and security policy and support so-called EU battle groups in securing external border controls. “The EU is too weak at major issues and too dominant in minor segments,” Kurz said.Media reports

India to compete in the Asia Men’s Rugby Sevens Trophy at Doha

indian_men_rugby_team_at_pooth_kalan_sports_complex_delhi

New Delhi, 1st March, 2017: The Indian men’s Rugby team will compete in the Asia Men’s Rugby Sevens Trophy 2017 to be held at Aspire Rugby Field, Doha, Qatar from Friday 3rd March & Saturday 4th March, 2017. The team will participate under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and is supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India

A total of 11 countries from across Asia including Singapore, Pakistan, Jordan, Philippines, Nepal, UAE, India, Thailand, Iran, Bangladesh and the host Qatar will vie for top honours in the Asia Men’s Rugby Sevens Trophy 2017. The winner of this men’s tournament in Doha will win a place for their union to participate in the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, which will feature three legs and will be played between 1stSeptember to 14th October, 2017.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Mahesh Mathai, Secretary General, Rugby India said, “Recently the Indian Women’s Rugby team shined at the Asia Women’s rugby Sevens trophy held at Laos and brought home a silver. We are thankful to the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi for acknowledging and applauding this effort of the women’s team in ‘Man ki Baat’, DD and Akashvani that aired across the country. We are confident that the Men’s team also will deliver fabulous performance to bring home accolades and make us proud yet again”.

“Our Financial partner Societe Generale is also contributing immensely to our efforts of developing the sport across all age groups. Such support and recognition gives all passionate players some much needed encouragement and push,” he added.

The players shortlisted to join the Indian National Training Camp were selected during the Federation Cup Rugby Sevens Championship 2016 held on 28th and 29thJanuary 2017 at the Biju Patnaik Sports Complex, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Post the Federation Cup, the Men’s Team training & selection camp was held at Sport Complex in Pooth Kalan, Delhi from 13th February to 1st March 2017.

The following 12 players and 4 officials are selected from across India to represent the nation at Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2017, Doha, Qatar.

(1) Gautam Dagar (Captain), (2) Nitin Dagar, (3) Deepak Punia, (4) Rakesh Lochab           (5) Deepak Dagar (from Delhi) (6) Vikas Khatri, (7) Prince Khatri, (8) Mohit Khatri, (9) Neeraj Khatri (From Haryana), (10) Akash Balmiki (from West Bengal), (11) Chhitaranjan Murmu( from Odisha) and (12) Samser Singh( from Maharashtra ). Officials – Mr. Sendil Kumar (Coach), Mr. Subhash Kumar Solanki (Assistant Coach), Mr. Wahid Pathan (Physio) and Mr. Manas Kumar Jena (Team Manager)

Fillon summoned by Magistrates

by Mrench conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon has been summoned by the magistrates investigating the case involving payments of taxpayers money to his wife, the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported. The newspaper said the request by the magistrates, appointed last week to look at allegations she did little work for the money, was behind Fillon’s announcement earlier on Wednesday that he was postponing a scheduled visit to the Paris farm fair

Indian economy is expanding at a fast pace: OECD

Indian economy is expanding at a fast pace: OECD Economic Survey of India 2017
According to a new report from the OECD, the Indian economy is expanding at a fast pace, boosting living standards and reducing poverty nationwide. Further reforms are now necessary to maintain strong growth and ensure that all Indians benefit from it.
The Survey, launched in New Delhi by OECD Secretary-General Mr. Angel Gurria and Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India, Shri Shaktikanta Das, hails India’s recent growth rate of more than 7% annually as the strongest among G-20 countries. It identifies priority areas for future action, including continuing plans to maintain macroeconomic stability and further reduce poverty, additional comprehensive tax reforms and new efforts to boost productivity and reduce disparities between India’s various regions.
Key findings :-
· The latest OECD Economic Survey of India 2017 finds that the acceleration of structural reforms and the move toward a rule-based macroeconomic policy framework are sustaining the country’s longstanding rapid economic expansion.
· The implementation of the landmark GST reform will contribute to making India a more integrated market. By reducing tax cascading, it will boost competitiveness, investment and job creation. The GST reform – designed to be initially revenue-neutral – should be complemented by a form of income and property taxes, the Survey said.
· There is a need to make income and property taxes more growth-friendly and redistributive. A comprehensive tax reform could help raise revenue to finance much-needed social and physical infrastructure, promote corporate investment, enable more effective redistribution and strengthen the ability of states and municipalities to better respond to local needs, according to the Survey.
· The OECD points out that achieving strong and balanced regional development will also be key to promoting inclusive growth. Inequality in income and in access to core public services between states and between rural and urban areas is currently large across India, while rural poverty is pervasive. Continuing efforts to improve universal access to core public services is essential.
· Recent changes in India’s federalism model have given states more freedom and incentives to modernize regulations and tailor public policies to local circumstances. Ranking states on the ease of doing business is opening a new era of structural reforms at the state level and will help unleash India’s growth potential. Further benchmarking among states and strengthening the sharing of best practices, particularly labor regulations and land laws could add to the reform momentum.
· Raising living standard in poorer states will require increasing productivity in the agricultural sector. With employment expected to gradually shift away from the agricultural sector, urbanization will gather pace. Thus, better urban infrastructure will be needed to fully exploit cities’ potential for job creation, productivity gains and improving the quality of life.SPSharma.

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