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Showing posts from March 22, 2017

To eschew isolationism (Hindu.)

G20 states must play by the multilateral rule book even when President Trump regards trade as a zero-sum game Given Donald Trump’s election to the White House, it was perhaps inevitable that the G20 meeting of finance ministers would end in an impasse. First, the U.S. decided in January to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Then it called to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. In more recent weeks, the Trump administration has ratcheted up its rhetoric on the U.S. trade imbalances vis-à-vis Germany and China. Each of these is a pattern of the populist penchant to play the victim card in the global multilateral system, and contributed to the deadlock at the Baden-Baden G20 meeting last weekend. This is not to deny that there is some familiarity to the failure of G20 nations to live up to past pledges. In this instance, it was the difficulty of including a clause to unequivocally eschew protectionism in the final communiqué, largely aimed to placate the new U…

Hockey is miles ahead of other federations, says Abhinav Bindra (hindu)

The champion marksman explains why professionalisation of the sports bodies is key to making India a world-beater

Life doesn’t end with retirement, especially if you’re India’s only individual Olympic champion to date. Shooter Abhinav Bindra, world champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event in 2006 and gold medallist at Beijing 2008, almost made it to the medals podium at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games before calling it a day. The five-time Olympian, still a young 34, has now made it his mission to give back to sport, and shooting. Still chairman of the Athletes Commission of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), he has set up a High Performance Training Centre in Chandigarh and been a part of several committees tasked with making Indian sport more professional and result-oriented. In this wide-ranging interview, Bindra talks about what it is that we really need to put India firmly on the Olympic map. Excerpts:

How has life been after the Rio Olympics?

I have been occupied wit…

What goes around must come around (Hindu.)

Wastewater management receives too little social or political attention

Wastewater is often an afterthought — flushed and forgotten — whether from household or commercial use. We may not know where wastewater ends up and we’re not too troubled by the mystery, just so long as it’s gone.

The 2017 United Nations’ Water Development Programme’s World Water Development Report (WWDR) – Wastewater: The Untapped Resource makes clear that we can no longer afford this disconnect.

The report, to be officially released today on World Water Day, notes that more than 80% of the world’s wastewater — over 95% in some least developed countries — is released into the environment untreated. In Thailand, 77% of wastewater was untreated in 2012; it was 81% in Vietnam the same year and 82% in Pakistan in 2011.

Relevant to Asia-Pacific

Untreated wastewater poses a threat to both human health and our aquatic ecosystems, and is a challenge that is particularly acute in Asia-Pacific.

This region is in the mids…