Sunday, June 10, 2018

Kim Jong-Un in Singapore, Trump on way

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un touched down in Singapore today, ahead of a planned summit with US President Donald Trump. The two leaders are to meet on Tuesday on Sentosa island where talks on denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for economic help will be on the table.
Kim Jong Un on Sunday landed in Singapore two days ahead of the much-awaited summit with United States President Donald Trump.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet on Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, where the process regarding denuclearisation of North Korea may kick-start in exchange for economic aid.
Several media reports stated that Kim, who arrived in an Air China 747 that touched down at Changi Airport today, is due to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the city-state later in the day.
The North Korean delegation to the talks includes Kim’s close aide, Kim Chang Son, who is already in Singapore to prepare for the summit. Mr Trump is expected to reach Singapore later today for the meeting.
The US delegation, which is route from the G7 meeting in Canada, will arrive in the evening, and Mr Trump is set to meet with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tomorrow.
The delegation includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Trump withdraws endorsement of G7 joint statement

US President Donald Trump withdrew his endorsement of a joint statement at the end of a G7 summit in Canada today in a row over trade. In a tweet, Trump accused the summit chairman and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of dishonesty and making false statements at his news conference.
The US President who is on his way to Singapore for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also reiterated warnings that his administration was mulling tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market.
Trump’s remarks came after Mr Trudeau in a press conference said, Canada will move forward with retaliatory measures on 1st of next month against US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico.
Earlier, all the G7 nations agreed on the importance of a rules-based trading system. The eight-page statement also included joint commitments to ensure that Iran will “never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon” as well as demands for Russia to stop undermining Western democracies.

Putin: Me willing to meet Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin today said, he will be happy to meet US President Donald Trump if Washington is ready to hold such a summit. Mr Putin was talking to reporters in the Chinese city of Qingdao, where he attended the Shanghai Co-operation Organization summit.
The Russian President said, some nations, including Austria, have offered to host his summit with Mr Trump. Mr Putin’s remarks follow a report that White House officials were working toward setting up a meeting.
The US President had said, he was open to having a summit with Mr Putin, who US intelligence officials have said directed Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Mr Trump has repeatedly said he wants to improve relationships with Moscow.

India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund Demonstrates Further Deepening of South-South Cooperation

Secretary-General:  India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund Demonstrates Further Deepening of South-South Cooperation

Following are UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks on the first anniversary of the India‑United Nations Development Partnership Fund, in New York on 8 June 2018:
It is for me an enormous pleasure to join you to celebrate the first anniversary of the India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund.  India played a very important role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals.  And even before the Goals were crystallized, India’s own development efforts and vision reflected many of the same priorities and aspirations.  India is, for all of us, a very important inspiration.
Today, in the third year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, I thank India for its strong commitment to multilateralism and to partnership with the United Nations, which is expressed in many ways across the global agenda and which we see again through the activities of this important Fund.  The Fund that shows the further deepening of South‑South cooperation, an increasingly valuable dimension of our work for development.
But this is also the moment to remind that South‑South cooperation is not an instrument aiming at replacing North‑South cooperation.  South‑South cooperation is not an instrument for the commitments that were made by developed countries now to be put aside.  South‑South cooperation must be a stimulus for an intensified North‑South cooperation, for the Addis Ababa [Action] Agenda to be fully implemented and for everybody to assume their responsibilities in the context of a world in which we want a fair globalization, in which justice prevails in international relations.
And the Fund’s support for Southern‑owned and Southern‑led projects throughout the developing world rightly emphasizes solidarity, mutual benefits, as well as national ownership.  And these are values that are also central when we recently approved in the General Assembly a resolution on the United Nations development system.  And the Fund’s focus on supporting people in least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing States reflects our ambition to reach those that are left furthest behind and to reach them first.
Let me commend India once again for its leadership and solidarity.  And I look forward to further engagement on this timely initiative.  And I will have the opportunity soon in Delhi to congratulate the Indian Government on this very, very important initiative.

Antaram   A meaningful Pause for Solutions in Education

Education is the bedrock of a strong nation and a prosperous world. Without it, an individual, a family, society, nation and the world cannot function and grew. But what do we really mean when we say education ? Does it only mean the capacity to read, write and pass examinations ? Or is it the ability to lead a happy and fulfilling life ? Is it something which should be similar for all or can it be personal ? Does India today need an education which is relevant to her ethos and history or do we need an education which homogenises the experiences of a few ? Do we need to seriously ponder on the need of establishing new orders and solutions for education in India and the world ? if yes, what are those solutions ?
India has a huge network of contemporary schools. While the extent of this network is admirable, it also invites deep and damaging criticisms for its inability i) train students in basic creative and analytical aptitude, ii) prepare them for life’s challenges, and iii) instill the depth of character and human values required for them to be good citizens, and caring members of the society it sometimes seems that all the three aspects above simply can’t be done at scale.
To address these multifarious challenges, a serious and thorough brainstorming and debate on these issues is needed on one hand, and glimpses of some actions and possible solutions on the other. India has millennia of accumulated wisdom and experience in the domain of education and even today there are several large and small scale, private / civil society and governmental efforts that harmonize conflicting requirements, and find solutions to the complex challenges.
The Vrindavan cluster of Unnat  Bharat Abhiyan (IIT Delhi) has been working on holistic interventions in government schools in the cluster villages.  This work is being done in collaboration with several other organizations such as Government of Uttar Pradesh (through the Brij Teerth Vikas Board), Akshyapatra Foundation (local resource persons), Vision India Foundation (VIF, providing on-the-ground fellows), Bharat Vikas Nyas (funding and other support for events), Parmeshvari Devi Dhanuka Vidyalaya (reputed school  in Vrindavan town, part of the Vidya Bharti network), and individuals including relevant government officials such as the SDM, and Basic Shiksha Adhikari of Mathura district. The interventions were also preceded by visits to several schools all over the country known to deliver education differently and catering to the holistic needs of the child, such as the Muni international School (Delhi), Gyan Prabodhini (Pune), Riverside School, Rishi Valley School, Sri Aurobindo Ashram school (Delhi), Gyan Prabodhini (Pune), Riverside School, Rishi Valley School, Sri Aurobindo Ashram school and more, incorporating all these experiences, this team team has put together the concept of a conference on education titled Antaram – A Meaningful Pause for Solutions in Education.
The conference aims to understand, contemplate and reflect holistically on education, share innovative interventions and models of both the successes and failures of individuals and institutions kindling change in education in India, and subsequently find simple and implementable solutions for meaningful education in India and the world through active youth engagement. To achieve this, the conference will feature leading educationists, thinkers, practitioners of various education thoughts, leaders and representatives of visionary schools across India, grass-root leaders including government teachers, principals, civil society representatives, education-entrepreneurs, change-makers from Central and State Governments including bureaucrats and ministers. The subsequent pages provides more details of the conference, including the proposed two day schedule.

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