Things to Note, May 28th

2020 WTO Public Forum cancelled

After careful consideration of COVID-19 related uncertainties and health concerns, the WTO has decided to cancel this year’s WTO Public Forum, scheduled for 29 September to 2 October. This decision responds to the complexities around planning to host thousands of people from around the world for a public event under the WTO roof, as well as the practical difficulties associated with planning international travel in September.

The theme of the Public Forum was “Building on 25 years of the WTO”. Stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, academia and governments continue to produce important analysis on the past, present and future of the multilateral trading system. The WTO Secretariat is exploring the possibility of organizing a smaller-scale event before the end of year. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to people and organizations that had been preparing for the Public Forum.​​

Canada newswire:  Vietnam – standard in COVID-19 fight

NDO/VNA – Canada’s Globe and Mail newswire has run an article saying that Vietnam’s COVID-19 fighting record will stand out as a remarkable, perhaps unique, achievement, calling the country as a standard in the fight.

The article said Vietnam has been loosening quarantine measures since late April. Patient 91, a 43-year-old British pilot, is on life support in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, and saving him has become a national priority. His condition deteriorated to the point that he was left with only 10-percent lung capacity.

It stressed that Vietnam’s success was no accident. Its 1,450km border with China and frequent visitors from Wuhan, the site of the original outbreak in December and January, meant that Vietnam could have been overrun with cases. But it acted fast and did not wait for official warnings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) before it closed its borders, locked down its economy and launched mass testing, tracing and quarantine measures.

China’s national security bill for Hong Kong threatens liberties, autonomy:  US, Western powers

Shortly after China’s legislature endorsed a national security law for Hong Kong on Thursday, the United States, and governments of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement arguing the legislation would “curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties.”

COVID-19 Intensifies the Urgency to Expand Sustainable Energy Solutions Worldwide

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2020 — Despite accelerated progress over the past decade, the world will fall short of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030 unless efforts are scaled up significantly, reveals the new Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA) the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the report, significant progress had been made on various aspects of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes a notable reduction in the number of people worldwide lacking access to electricity, strong uptake of renewable energy for electricity generation, and improvements in energy efficiency. Despite these advances, global efforts remain insufficient to reach the key targets of SDG 7 by 2030.

Hungary to commemorate victims of Danube boat catastrophe

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Commemorations will be held Friday on the anniversary of the Danube River tragedy in which a sightseeing boat carrying mostly tourists from South Korea sank after a collision with a river cruise ship that killed at least 27 people.

At least 25 out of 33 South Korean tourists died when the Hableany (Mermaid) boat capsized at the foot of Budapest’s Margit Bridge near the neo-Gothic Hungarian parliament building on the night of May 29, 2019. The boat’s two-man Hungarian crew also died, while a female South Korean tourist is still missing.

Some of the victims’ bodies were found weeks after the crash more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) downstream.

Jamaica Ramps Up Social and Economic Support in COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 crisis is having a significant impact on Jamaica. The pandemic, which is severely hurting tourism and remittances, reached the Caribbean country just a few months after the successful conclusion of its economic reform program—which was supported by a $1.66 billion Stand-By Arrangement from the IMF.

In response, the government has ramped up its recovery efforts and established a special task force to effectively respond to the economic impact of the crisis. In this context, Jamaica has also requested emergency financing from the IMF in the amount of $520 million.

Olympic chief Bach consults with IOC members over virus fallout

LAUSANNE: Olympic chief Thomas Bach on Wednesday held a series of talks with International Olympic Committee members on the potential consequences of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen the Tokyo Games pushed back a year to 2021, sources said.

Bach was to address the 100 IOC members in three different sessions decided by language and local time zone.

“The IOC held today a series of internal consultations with IOC members to hear from them in preparation of the IOC Session which will be prepared by the IOC executive board in its meeting on June 10, 2020,” said an IOC statement later Wednesday.

Bach’s aim was to canvas the members for their view on “how to handle the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic”, a source told AFP.

The IOC president wants to hear “thoughts, ideas and experiences of all members across the globe”, it added.

We are engaged with China to resolve border row:  India on Trump’s offer to mediate

India on Wednesday said it was engaged with China to resolve the border issue, in a carefully crafted reaction seen as virtual rejection of US President Donald Trump’s offer to arbitrate between the two Asian giants in resolving their decades-old boundary dispute.

“We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, replying to a volley of questions at an online media briefing.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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