Governments worldwide are failing to do enough to tackle drought, which lacks the headline-making punch of a hurricane but can have an equally devastating human and economic impact, the UN weather agency warned Thursday.
“A flood or hurricane is over within hours or days. A drought can last weeks, months, a season, a year. But droughts can cause as many deaths over time as any other natural disaster,” said Robert Stefanski, head of World Meteorological Organisation?s (WMO) agriculture division.
Droughts in recent years have struck regions ranging from the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, China, India, Mexico and Brazil to the United States, Russia and southeastern Europe.
Droughts are estimated to affect tens of millions of people and cause tens of billions of dollars in economic losses every year.
They are expected to increase in frequency, area and intensity due to climate change, yet Read more…
More than a billion people around the world would face starvation if India and Pakistan unleash nuclear weapons — even if that war is regionally limited, a study released Tuesday warned.
That’s because the deadly and polluting weapons would cause major worldwide climate disruption that would dramatically drive down food production in China, the United States and other countries.
“The grim prospect of nuclear famine requires a fundamental change in our thinking about nuclear weapons,” said study author Dr. Ira Helfand of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
“The new evidence that even the relatively small nuclear arsenals of countries such as India and Pakistan could cause long lasting, global damage to the Earth’s ecosystems and threaten hundreds of millions of already malnourished people demands that action be taken,” Helfand said in a statement.
“The needless and preventable Read more…
NEW DELHI (AP) — India is planning to test launch a new nuclear-capable missile that for the first time would give it the capability of hitting the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The government has hailed the Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), as a major boost to its efforts to counter China’s regional dominance and become an Asian power in its own right. The test launch was slated to come as early as Wednesday evening, but Indian media said a delay was likely because of poor weather conditions.
“It will be a quantum leap in India’s strategic capability,” said Ravi Gupta, spokesman for India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, which built the missile.
China is far Read more…
GENEVA: India has vaulted to the top of the list of Iran’s oil customers, overtaking China, in a first-quarter buying surge ahead of tighter sanctions against Tehran this summer, data published by a leading industry consultant showed.
Direct imports to India from Iran were 433,000 barrels per day in the first quarter, compared with 256,000 barrels per day to China, according to data compiled by Geneva’s Petrologistics and seen by Reuters via an industry source.
The Indian import figure was up by around 23 percent from the 351,0000 bpd imported over the same period of 2011 and significantly above its 2011 average of 326,000 bpd.
Iran, like many oil exporters, does not publish its own oil sales data on a timely basis. The Petrologistics figures, however, reinforce indications that India has stepped up imports, while business has slowed between Tehran and Beijing over payment terms.
“The first quarter was likely the exception to the rule … China took a strong stance on negotiations, but its imports will Read more…
As China is expected to rise to the status of a financial super power within the next 8 years and eclipse the US economy by 2020 Africa becomes center stage in the greatest currency war the world has seen since the 1930s which is now shifting into overdrive.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, collectively known as the BRICS nations, are moving forward with their plan to unseat the US dollar from its throne as the global trade currency and to replace it with a Chinese denominated “super-sovereign” international currency.
This Geo-political game to establish global monetary dominance is by no means limited to the attack on the US dollar.
Instead this is merely the first strike of a concerted campaign of worldwide economic Read more…
Days after India and China agreed to have maritime cooperation, Beijing has favoured greater military ties with New Delhi, saying such exchanges would help build more “confidence and trust” between the two countries.
“Exchanges between our militaries will help us build more confidence and trust with each other,” Deputy Director General of Asian Department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong said.
His remarks came ahead of President Hu Jintao’s visit to New Delhi from Wednesday to participate in the fourth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.
“Our military people are positive about military cooperation and exchange of visits with India. I think China and India are strategic partners military exchanges and cooperation are part of the partnership,” Sun said.
India had suspended Read more…
THE tiny island-state of Singapore, home to just over 5m people, has a well-deserved reputation as a quiet, clean-cut hub for banking, lawyering and golf. Yet beyond the fairways it bristles with weapons.
According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Singapore is now the fifth-largest arms importer in the world, bested only by some obvious behemoths—China, India and Pakistan—plus South Korea. Singapore accounts for 4% of the world’s total spending on arms imports. Its defence spending per head beats every country bar America, Israel and Kuwait. This year $9.7 billion, or 24% of the national budget, will go on defence.
These are striking figures, but then Singapore has been one of the Read more…
China’s defense spending – now officially $106 billion but estimated by the Pentagon and independent researchers to be more than $160 billion – is on track to exceed that of all its Asian neighbors combined within a few years. This is particularly striking in light of a wider Asian arms race: India is the world’s Read more…
India is proposing the creation of a multilateral bank to exclusively finance projects in BRIC countries, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg cited an Indian official who told the news service the plan is likely to be discussed at this weekend’s Group of 20 finance ministers meeting in Mexico City. The official said the plan was in an early, exploratory phase but had been circulated among the BRICs and shared with South African officials, Bloomberg noted.
The BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China. As it’s described now, the proposed bank would be funded exclusively by developing nations and finance projects in only those nations.
Reuters reported that Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega is sympathetic to the idea.
Emerging market economies have in recent years become a larger driver of global growth than more established markets. They have been pushing for greater representation at the World Bank and IMF as their clout in the global economy has grown.
HONG KONG (AP) — China is poised to overtake India to become the world’s biggest gold market this year as rising incomes fuel demand for the precious metal and a weak rupee diminishes Indian purchases, an industry group said Thursday.The amount of gold bought in China rose 20 percent in 2011 over the year before to 770 metric tons, the World Gold Council said in its annual report. That put China behind only first-place India, where 933 metric tons were bought.
Worldwide, the amount of gold purchased rose 0.4 percent to 4,0671 metric tons worth $205.5 billion.
The council said it’s “likely that China will emerge” as the world’s largest gold market for the first time in 2012.
Rising incomes in China, which is the world’s No. 2 economy, have resulted in a surge in demand for gold jewelry and other luxury goods. China became the world’s largest market for gold jewelry in the second half of 2011 as demand rose in every quarter, the report said.
Gold bars, coins and other gold-backed products are also popular because of a lack of Read more…