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REVEALED: The country with the largest number of poor people


Global poverty trends are changing drastically, and it is exceptionally good news for India, a recent study points out.

The rapidly-growing economy is pulling 44 people out of ‘extreme poverty’ every minute, leaving 78mn still in its clutches. Thanks to the feat, Nigeria has replaced India as home to the largest number of poor according to International Monetary Fund’s world economic outlook.

The study is bad news for Africa, which currently houses two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor, but will see it grow to nine-tenths by 2030 if current trends persist. In Nigeria, there are 87mn people living in extreme poverty, growing at the rate of 6 people/minute. Thirteen other countries out of a total 18, which show growing extreme poverty rates, are in Africa.

But maintaining the momentum will be a tough job for India. Speaking of plans to continue, India could fast drop further in the ranks, going to Number-3 by this year end, with Congo overtaking it. In fact, less than 3% of Indians are expected to be poor by 2022, and extreme poverty might be non-existent by 2030. ‘Extreme poverty’ has been defined as living on less than $1.9 (Rs. 130) a day.

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Did you expect this?

By Morning Call

Trade wars won’t fix globalization. Here’s why


The Trump Administration’s announcement in February of new steel and aluminium tariffs on national security grounds, including on imports from allies like the EU, have set the stage for escalating trade tensions. The EU recently imposed retaliatory tariffs on products ranging from bourbon whiskey to motorcycles. The US President hit back with a tweet threatening a 20% import tariff on autos and auto parts, telling manufacturers: “Build them here!”

A number of US-based firms have voiced concerns over supply chain disruptions from trade wars. Harley Davidson stated that it would be shifting production aimed at the EU market outside the US to avoid the additional tariff burden, exemplifying the unintended consequences of this approach.

Earlier this month, the US announced a 25% duty on around $50 billion worth of Chinese imports on the grounds that they utilize intellectual property obtained from US firms through forced technology transfers or theft. China’s Made in China 2025 plan was named and scrutinised in the report. UNCTAD estimates that, like China, more than 100 countries have formal industrial policy strategies, many of which involve joining and benefitting from global value chains (GVCs). Tariff wars undermine growth models that rely on the benefits and efficiencies of globalization.

We asked policy experts and business leaders: how can countries really reap the economic and social benefits of GVCs, while avoiding inequality and environmental damage?

Don’t neglect services : Much of the recent talk of bilateral trade deficits has overlooked the importance of services to the global and national economies. Factors affecting services competitiveness have become important for economic growth and development more generally. Investment in human capital, digital infrastructure (including reliable mobile broadband), efficient and flexible domestic regulation and connectedness with international markets (including open cross-border flow of data, visa facilitation and mutual recognition agreements) are key. The services sector has strong inclusiveness dimensions: it is more SME-intensive than the goods sector is and has more women workers, owners and managers.

Co-operate on competition policy : Various anti-competitive activities by firms impede the efficient operation of value chains. Today, there are over 100 jurisdictions administering competition law. In the absence of global rules on competition, each jurisdiction applies its own system. Firms can find themselves facing conflicting decisions from different authorities with respect to the same merger or other activity. This leads to the most interventionist ruling of a major economy being enforced. In the case of digital products, questions of jurisdiction and enforcement are all the more challenging. Greater cooperation between agencies would improve clarity and reduce gaps in enforcement.

Prioritise tax certainty over incentives : In an attempt to attract GVC-linked foreign direct investment (FDI), many countries engage in harmful tax competition to woo multinational enterprises (MNEs). However, for the most part, FDI tends to be more sensitive to tax certainty than to tax incentives. Enhanced consistency in tax rules, interpretation and enforcement across economies and better cooperation between authorities help foster certainty. That being said, tax credits for education and training could help build a workforce suited for high-demand tasks through public-private partnerships. These and other programmes would need to be designed and monitored carefully to avoid tax evasion or aggressive tax planning by MNEs.

Incentivise sustainability : MNEs play a key role in coordinating activities and actors along the value chain. They set private standards that suppliers and affiliates have to meet. An increasing number (over 550) of these standards are sustainability-related. As these can be difficult for small producers to navigate and meet, coherent standards and simplified procedures are needed. Many big, consumer-facing brands are seeing greater demand for sustainably-sourced products from their customers. Others are finding ways to raise capital by tapping into investor appetite for sustainable business operations.

Implement doing-business reforms : Since MNEs play such an important role in GVCs, creating an enabling environment that attracts and sustains FDI is crucial. This involves reforms that cut red tape and corruption, improve infrastructure, provide quality education to the workforce to enable them to work in modern production chains and ensure that companies operating in the country have access to foreign exchange so that they can pay suppliers and repatriate profits.

So far, the tariff war has been just that: a tariff war, limited to the use of import duties on goods. Soon, though, the US is expected to release details of how it plans to restrict Chinese investment in US companies where it deems it a threat to national security. Meanwhile, the Chinese government could make things difficult for US companies operating in China – by imposing regulatory burdens or encouraging consumer boycotts. It could choose to block mergers , such as the one proposed between the US firm Qualcomm and Dutch firm NPX. The EU could consider retaliating against US banking and insurance companies and taxing digital services, hurting US tech companies.

Short-sighted, protectionist measures ignore and erode the opportunities that GVCs provide for driving inclusive and sustainable growth and do nothing to optimize outcomes.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

By Aditi Verghese and Sean Doherty

Philippines President says God is stupid


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has received backlash after he called God stupid in the Asia’s largest Catholic church.

The 73-year-old president who has also insulted the Pope, Barack Obama, the United Nations among others also faulted the concept of original sin referring to God in a rather crude language.

Duterte, in his usual blunt style stated he found it foolish for God to create something “perfect” and then allow the first humans, Adam and Eve, to ruin it by bringing sin into existence because of the forbidden fruit.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte questioned why God created Adam and Eve only to allow them to cave in to temptation.Photo: theguardian.com

“Who is this stupid God? You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,”

“Adam ate it (the fruit from the forbidden tree), then malice was born. Who is this stupid God? You are really a stupid son of a b***ch if that is the case,” he posed.

Referring to the Biblical story of the fall of humankind, the controversial president questioned God’s logic and termed him as stupid.

“Now all of us are born with an original sin. What is the original sin? Was it the first kiss? What was the sin? Why is it original. You’re still in your mother’s womb and yet to already have a sin,”

“…Now you’re stained with an original sins … What kind of a religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept, very stupid proposition,” he said.

He,however clarified that he believes there is a “universal mind.”

Dutertes questioned the concept of original sin saying he didn’t accept it. Photo: VOA News

Duterte’s remarks sparked outrage as his spokesperson, Harry Roque, rushed to his defense urging the public to accept that the president tends to use strong language when expressing his beliefs.

“That is the personal belief of the president. We are free to believe in religion and we are also free not to believe in religion. The president has his personal spiritual beliefs, “

“We cannot fault the president if he has no sense of hypocrisy and we should accept that because even when he was just a candidate, he never hid that from us,” he opined.

Rogue went on to reveal the president’s strong sentiments could have resulted from his childhood experience where he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

“I think the declaration of the president stemmed from his bad experience when still young. He was allegedly abused by a priest,”

“This is an issue that the Church should face and perhaps it just happened that the president is one of the victims,” said Duterte’s aide.

He argued the Catholic church should not hide it’s head in the sand and pretend the abuse never happended maintaining that the church “should admit and ask forgiveness so that all the victims, including President Duterte, can also move on with their lives.”

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Source: Tuko News

By Mary Wangari

5 amazing people fighting to save the oceans


The ocean supplies more than half of the oxygen we breathe, at least one-ninth of global livelihoods and a carbon absorption system that has thus far regulated climate change.

While only 5% of the ocean has been explored, evidence suggests its entire ecosystem is seriously under threat. The number of fish in the oceans has halved in 50 years, since 1970. Coral reefs bleach far more frequently and extensively than just four decades previously, putting countless species at risk. Every minute, it’s estimated that the equivalent of an entire garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean.

Growth in global plastics production 1950-2014

In response, an important collective of young global leaders is building a multi-pronged movement to restore and protect the Earth’s marine bounty. Coming from private, media, grassroots and multilateral organizations, these are some of the individuals who will ensure our oceans remain sources of life for generations to come.

Gloria Fluxa Thienemann is changing the impact of seaside tourism. As the CEO of one of Europe’s most prominent hospitality companies, Iberostar, she directly influences more than 110 hotels in 35 countries. More than 80% of these hotels are coastal. Through Gloria’s initiative, Wave of Change , Iberostar has developed an action plan to preserve and promote oceans and seas. This includes replacing single-use plastics with products made of biodegradable materials, ensuring the traceability of the fish on the hotel menus and funding research into coral reef conservation.

Lara Setrakian infuses deeper understanding oceans within the public arena. As the co-founder and executive editor of News Deeply, a new media company working to advance coverage of complex global issues, Lara has created a specific platform for oceans-related news coverage, Oceans Deeply . This goes beyond the reporting of hot topics like the coral reef crisis, plastics pollution and the establishment of marine protected areas; it also aims to raise awareness of underrepresented issues such as high-seas governance and deep-sea mining.

Pawan Patil is a force behind the World Bank’s multibillion-dollar portfolio on oceans. He has worked in partnership with scientists, policy practitioners and financial experts around the world to author numerous articles illuminating the Earth’s ocean wealth and promoting a sustainable and ocean-friendly “blue economy”. Pawan, who is a senior economist at the World Bank, is also the recipient of several innovation awards in support of ocean-facing developing countries. Driven by his family’s coastal heritage, Pawan’s commitment to improving the livelihoods of seafaring and coastal communities, particularly in non-industrialized economies, will spur investment into the right type of oceanic development.

Two women from the southern hemisphere are inspiring generations of young people and their families to care for the oceans. South African Hanli Prinsloo is the founder and CEO of oceans conservation trust called I AM WATER , which seeks to ignite a movement of “blue minds” across the planet. Her team connects diverse communities to the oceans to discover life beneath the waves first hand. By exposing influential philanthropists and young people from underprivileged coastal communities to the mystery and beauty of our aquatic environment, Hanli cultivates love for and commitment to protecting our oceans.

In Latin America, Kerstin Fosberg , mobilizes scores of volunteers to empower and educate coastal communities in Peru and beyond about their marine environments through Planeta Oceano . The dynamo behind the campaign to acquire legal protection for Peru’s giant manta rays , Kerstin marshalled tourists and local fishermen as citizen scientists to collect data to advocate for this species. Her vision prompted the Peruvian government to legally protect the giant fish. Kerstin now has her sights set on achieving broader conservation efforts through strategic tourism and the activation of local communities.

We hear a lot of talk about oceans protection but Nina Jensen is looking to turn it into action. She is the CEO of X Four-10 , which is currently constructing the world’s largest research and expedition vessel, called REV. This vessel will be fitted to house 60 researchers at any given time and promises to uncover sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions for the world’s oceans. With a background of 15 years at WWF Norway, Nina has a burning commitment and passion for oceans, conservation and finding the specific solutions oceans need to thrive.

While their individual efforts have already identified these change-makers as critical contributors to national and regional ecosystems, their collective efforts have the power to safeguard the delicate interdependence between terrestrial and aquatic life.

Find out more about the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders here .

SOURCE: Technology Eyes

By Mariah Levin