PM attends G-8's 'outreach' summit
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the leaders of the five Outreach Countries of the group of eight developed countries (G-8), who participated in the G-8 Outreach Summit held as part of the G-8 Summit at Heiligendamm in Germany from June 6 to 8. While in Heiligendamm, the Prime Minister also had bilateral discussions with U.S.
President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese President Hu Jintao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the host of the summit.
The influential G-8 comprises U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia, while the five Outreach Countries are, besides India, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa.
Following the Outreach Summit, the G-8 and the five outreach allies pledged to continue their dialogue on key issues including investment and energy efficiency in a more structured manner under what is being called the Heiligendamm Process.
Under the Heiligendamm Process, proposed by Chancellor Merkel, the outreach partners will continue to discuss and review progress in four key areas till the 2009 summit in Italy.
In a joint statement issued after the G-8 Outreach Summit, the two sides said their dialogue would cover four areas -- cross-border investment, research, development and energy efficiency. "We commit to embark on a high-level dialogue on specific challenges as proposed by the G-8 as a follow-up to continue discussions in a more structured manner for a period of two years until the G-8 Summit in 2009." The engagement between G-8 and the outreach partners - who have been meeting each year since the 2005 summit in St. Petersburg - has been more informal in nature which some of the members now want to institutionalise. In energy, the two sides said they would not only promote cost-effective use of fossil fuels and clean coal technology, but also increase the use of renewable energy sources such as bio-fuels and bio-mass.
They also committed themselves to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and said they would also follow the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities.
"The adaptation to climate change will be a major challenge for all countries, in particular for developing countries, and means for adaptation need to be included in a future agreement along with enhanced technology cooperation and financing."
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Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma nominee for C'wealth Secretary-General
The Government of India has decided to put forward the candidature of Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma, who is currently India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, for the post of the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is the main inter-governmental agency of the Commonwealth. The Secretary General is elected by Heads of Government for no more than two four-year terms.
The second term of the current Secretary-General is coming to an end in March 2008 and his successor will be elected at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala in November this year.
The Government of India believes that Ambassador Sharma is eminently equipped to undertake this responsibility by virtue of the great interest he has shown in multilateral global affairs and in both South-South and North-South relations and the experience he has gained in these areas in the course of his distinguished diplomatic career, as well as the assignment which he has undertaken on behalf of the United Nations.
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Restoration of 'Chhatri' of Ram Mohan Roy
A reception was hosted by the Acting High Commissioner, Asoke Mukerji, at India House on June 11 in connection with a donation of $100,000 made by an Indian NRI Aditya Poddar of Singapore towards the repair and restoration of the 'Chhatri' of Raja Ram Mohan Roy at the Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol.
The reception was attended by a select gathering of some 100 intellectuals, academics, media personalities and admirers of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Among the prominent participants in the function were Milon Banerjee, the Attorney General of India, Alapan Bandopadhyay, Municipal Commissioner, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Phillip Davies of the English Heritage, George Nicholson of the Thames River Association, Suranjan Das, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Kolkata, and Professor Suparana Das, Head of the Department, Modern History, University of Kolkata.
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International Day of Non-Violence
The United Nations General Assembly on June 15 unanimously adopted a resolution on 'International Day of Non-Violence' piloted by India with the co-sponsorship of 142 countries to annually observe and celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, October 2, as the International Day of Non-Violence.
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Kalam calls for a Space Vision
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has called on the World Space Community to evolve a Space Vision that will enable mankind to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. The President was speaking on June 5 from Rashtrapati Bhavan through video conferencing to the 'International Conference on Space -- A Conceptual Challenge to Defence', organised by the Centre of Aerospace Strategic Studies and the National Centre for Space Studies of France in Paris. Kalam said the 'World Space Vision 2050' has three components: space exploration and current application missions; comprehensive space security; and large scale societal missions and low cost access to space.
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India in Top 10 Country Brands
Leading global brand consultant FutureBrands' Country Brand Index 2006 has ranked India among the top 10 country brands in the world. The country figured seven times across 20 parameters among the 45 countries considered in the index.
India is ranked first in terms of "authenticity", and has improved its position six ranks over the previous year where "history" is concerned. The country's ranking has also improved nine notches in so far as "art and culture" goes.
The index also suggests how Brand India reflects business opportunity as well as value shopping. Overall, India Brand comes in at No. 10 in the index, which is topped by Australia.
The country brand index draws on global quantitative surveys, expert opinions and external statistics.
Leeds varsity honours Patel
The Leeds Metropolitan University on June 7 conferred an honorary doctorate on Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, recognising his contribution to modernisation of India's civil aviation industry.
Accepting the degree, he said it was a "recognition of the progress of civil aviation". The past three years redefined civil aviation in India, where air travel was originally meant for a few.
There was a growth of over 50 percent in domestic passenger traffic last year. Now domestic services were available to and from more than 75 airports as against 50 six years ago, the Minister said.
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