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Monthly Archives: JUNE 2016


David Cameron resigns as UK shocks the world by voting for Brexit
24.06.16 - TEAM PT
David Cameron resigns as UK shocks the world by voting for Brexit



David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister by October Britons voted against his advice to remain in European Union. Cameron announced his resignation, saying that the country needed "fresh leadership.”

With the Leave campaign securing 52 per cent of the vote, Mr Cameron addressed the nation in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street to announce that he would be stepping down.

While England voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain. London backed Remain but the turnout was lower than expected because of bad weather.

Brexit: Britain votes to leave EU in historic divorce

Voters have voted in favor of Brexit: British exit from the European Union. That means that in the coming months, British and European leaders will begin negotiating the terms of Britain's departure.

Britain's exit will affect the British economy, immigration policy, and lots more. It will take years for the full consequences to become clear. But here are some of the most important changes we can expect in the coming months.

The process of leaving the EU will take years

A Brexit vote is not legally binding, and there are a few ways it could theoretically be blocked or overturned. However, as the BBC notes, "it would be seen as political suicide to go against the will of the people as expressed in a referendum."

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union establishes the procedures for a member state to withdraw from the EU. It requires the member state to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to then try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with that state.

A Brexit vote, however, does not represent that formal notification. That notification could take place within days — for example, when EU member countries meet for a summit that is scheduled for June 28 to 29. Or British officials might wait a few months to pull the trigger.

Once Britain invokes Article 50, it will have a two-year window in which to negotiate a new treaty to replace the terms of EU membership. Britain and EU leaders would have to hash out issues like trade tariffs, migration, and the regulation of everything from cars to agriculture.

In the best-case scenario, Britain may be able to negotiate access to the European market that isn’t that different from what it has now. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it has agreed to abide by a number of EU rules in exchange for favorable access to the European Common Market.

Brexit will cause problems for Britain's economy

In the short run, uncertainty about Britain’s future relationship with the EU, its largest trading partner, could push the UK into a recession. Market watchers predict an "explosion of volatility" on Friday morning as the markets process the implications of Britain’s exit. Many economists expect both the British stock market and the pound to open lower on Friday morning. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, even hinted that he could suspend stock market trading if Britons voted to exit the EU.

Brexit means significant uncertainty for migrants

One of the most important and controversial achievements of the EU was the establishment of the principle of free movement among EU countries. A citizen of one EU country has an unfettered right to live and work anywhere in the EU. Both Britons and foreigners have taken advantage of this opportunity.

There currently are about 1.2 million Brits living in other EU countries, while about 3 million non-British EU nationals live in Britain. Thanks to EU rules, they were able to move across the English Channel with a minimum of paperwork. Britain’s exit from the EU could change that profoundly.

It’s possible, of course, that Britain could negotiate a new treaty with the EU that continues to allow free movement between the UK and the EU. But resentment of EU immigrants — especially from poorer, economically struggling countries like Poland and Lithuania — was a key force driving support for Brexit. So the British government will be under immense pressure to refuse to continue the current arrangement.

At a minimum, that would mean that people moving to or from Britain would need to worry about passports and residency rules. And it could mean that some British immigrants may lose their right to continue living and working in the UK and be deported.

"The withdrawal process is unprecedented," a British government spokesperson said a few weeks ago. "There is a great deal of uncertainty about how it would work."

‘Brexit’ Expected to Rattle U.S. Economy

Britain’s exit is expected to jolt the U.S. economy, likely rattling restive equity markets and driving up the value of the dollar. It could also weaken U.S. diplomatic leverage in Europe and upend the corporate strategies of U.S. companies based in London.

Brexit has happened, and India’s equity investors are in shock

Even before the final numbers were out, India’s benchmark Sensex index opened over 700 points or 2.85% lower at 9:20 AM local time. Voters in the UK have decided to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 45% ("Leave” versus "Remain” votes.)

By 1:05 PM, the Sensex fell almost 835 points, a drop of 3%.

As Quartz wrote yesterday, the Sensex fall might be a knee-jerk reaction to global markets. Nevertheless, foreign investors could sell off in emerging markets, including India, to hedge global losses. The Indian currency was under pressure after the British pound fell more than 10% against the US dollar—lowest since the 1980s. In morning trade, the rupee fell to 68.22 a dollar, the lowest level since March 1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is monitoring the currency movement to keep volatility in check.

India’s central bank governor Raghuram Rajan said that the RBI is "prepared for any eventuality” after Britain voted for Brexit.

Speaking to ET Now, a television channel, Rajan added: "There are concerns from Brexit referendum, see no immediate dire impact on Britain..Have been in touch with central banks across the world on Brexit…We are watching all markets both internationally and domestically, where necessary will provide liquidity.”

Rajan also said that Indian companies that are invested in the UK will have to "figure out what its’ market is and how best to access it.” "Immediately, the attractiveness to invest in the UK will be a little more limited,” Rajan said.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that India is prepared to deal with the Brexit volatility. "Our immediate and medium-term firewalls are solid too in the form of a healthy reserve position,” Jaitley said in a statement.




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Famed Qawwal Amjad Sabri shot dead in Karachi
22.06.16 - TEAM PT
Famed Qawwal Amjad Sabri shot dead in Karachi



Renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri was shot dead in Karachi Wednesday afternoon, after unknown assailants fired at his vehicle in the city's Liaquatabad area.

Additional Inspector General Mushtaq Mehar told Dawn that two men riding a motorcycle fired shots at the car, terming the incident as "targeted killing.” He said the motive of the killing is unknown as of now.

According to Dawn report, Sabri, 45, and an associate were travelling in a car in Liquatabad 10 area, when unidentified gunmen fired at their vehicle, critically injuring him. The two were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed hospital immediately, where Sabri succumbed to his injuries.

Ghulam Ahmed, an eye witness told SAMAA TV he saw two motorcycle riding men fire shots at one side of the car. "Then they turned and fired four shots on the other side of the car.”

Additional police surgeon Dr Rohina Hasan confirmed Sabri's demise. He was shot thrice – twice in the head and once on the face – police sources said.

Fakhre Alam, Chairman of Sindh Censor Board, has claimed in a tweet that Sabri had earlier submitted an application for security, but the home department did not act on it.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has taken notice of the incident and ordered IG Sindh to submit a report regarding the assassination.

Amjad Sabri was one of the country’s finest qawwals, known for his soul-stirring renditions of mystic poetry. He enthralled music aficionados with his brand of spirituality, mysticism and ecstasy for years. He was not only well-versed with the structure and aesthetics of qawwali but also knew how to make it adaptive to the contemporary music keeping its essence alive.

Amjad Sabri and blasphemy

Earlier in 2014, Dawn reported the Islamabad Hight Court (IHC) had issued a notice in a blasphemy case to Amjad Sabri along with two TV channels for the playing of a qawwali during a morning show.

The traditional qawwali sung by Amjad Sabri had mentioned religious figures, which was deemed offensive.

After a blasphemy case was registered against Geo News, advocate Tariq Asad had put the onus on Qawwal Amjad Sabri and the lyricist for the blasphemy row while seeking to ban the qawwali that caused the issue.

The court had also issued notices to Federal Information Secretary, chief executive of ARY, anchors Mubashir Lucman, Nida Yasir and Shaisata Lodhi, chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and Chairman Cable Operators Association of Pakistan.

The Sabri legacy

Amjad Sabri was the nephew of qawwali icon Maqbool Sabri who passed away in 2011.

Maqbool Sabri along with his brother, the late Ghulam Farid Sabri, formed a formidable qawwali group in the mid-50s and became known for their soul-stirring renditions of arifana kalam (mystic poetry).

Maqbool’s nephew Amjad Sabri — who was tragically shot dead today in Karachi — was keeping the family tradition alive and was one of the most sought-after qawwals of the country.

Almost whatever the Sabri brothers sang became an instant hit. But some of their most memorable and famous qawwalis were Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Tajdar-i-Haram and Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa.

They were equally well-versed in compositions made in the Persian language and sang Nami Danam Che Manzil Bood with equal ease and facility. The brothers’ rendition of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s kalam was one of their marked areas of excellence.




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G7 nations pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025
17.06.16 - PT TEAM
G7 nations pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025



The G7 nations have for the first time set a deadline for the ending most fossil fuel subsidies, saying government support for coal, oil and gas should end by 2025.

The leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union encouraged all countries to join them in eliminating "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” within a decade.

"Given the fact that energy production and use account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, we recognise the crucial role that the energy sector has to play in combatting climate change,” said the leaders’ declaration, issued at the end their summit in Japan. The pledge first entered into G7 (then known as G8) declarations in 2009 but has until now lacked a firm timeline.

Shelagh Whitley, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, called it an "historic day” but said 2020 was a more appropriate date if governments were serious about their commitments to the global climate deal agreed in Paris in December.

Across the G7, subsidies are already falling, assisted by falling commodity prices. A notable exception is the UK, which increased subsidies by opening up new tax breaks for North Sea oil producers. Japan has been criticised for funding new coal projects, both at home and abroad.

"We already see [some in] the G7 going in the wrong direction since Paris. Just because they are saying this [about fossil fuel subsidies], it’s not a fait accompli,” said Whitley. Canada also recently extended some subsidies for natural gas.

The G7 joins the leaders of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, who have previously called for an end to assistance for fossil fuel projects.

The statement did not define precisely what the G7 consider to be a subsidy. The word "inefficient” in the G7 text indicates subsidies that distort energy markets. The OECD estimates that this type of support for fossil fuels within its member states is $160-200bn (£109-136bn) each year.

But when the cost of damage from pollution and climate change is factored in, the International Monetary Fund has estimated that support increases to a staggering $5.3tn a year, or $10m per minute. This is more than the total global spend on human health.

The OECD approach to measuring subsidies is likely to be the yardstick applied by the G7. The US and China recently asked the OECD to oversee a peer review of each other’s subsidy programme.

Whitley said another significant change from the G7 was the excision of a past phrase that focused on subsidies for the "consumption” of fuels. She said this meant the G7 could target subsidies for exploration as well, not just the end use.




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World could warm by massive 10°C if all fossil fuels are burned
17.06.16 - PT TEAM
World could warm by massive 10°C if all fossil fuels are burned



The planet would warm by searing 10°C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy.

The Arctic, already warming fast today, would heat up even more – 20°C by 2300 – the new research into the extreme scenario found.

"I think it is really important to know what would happen if we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change,” said Katarzyna Tokarska, at the University of Victoria in Canada and who led the new research. "Even though we have the Paris climate change agreement, so far there hasn’t been any action. [This research] is a warning message.”

The carbon already emitted by burning fossil fuels has driven significant global warming, with 2016 near certain to succeed 2015 as the hottest year ever recorded, which itself beat a record year in 2014. Other recent studies have shown that extreme heatwaves could push the climate beyond human endurance in parts of the world such as the Gulf, making them uninhabitable.

In Paris in December, the world’s nations agreed a climate change deal intended to limit the temperature rise from global warming to under 2°C, equivalent to the emission of a trillion tonnes of carbon. If recent trends in global emissions continue, about 2tn tonnes will be emitted by the end of the century.

The new work, published in Nature Climate Change, considers the impact of emitting 5tn tonnes of carbon emissions. This is the lower-end estimate of burning all fossil fuels currently known about, though not including future finds or those made available by new extraction technologies.

The researchers used a series of sophisticated climate models and found this rise in CO2  would lead to surface temperatures rising by an average of 8°C across the world by 2300. When the effect of other greenhouse gases is added, the rise climbs to 10°C.

The heating predicted by the models was not uniform across the globe. In the Arctic, the higher CO2  levels led to 17°C of warming, with another 3°C from other greenhouse gases, across the year. These rises are higher than indicated by previous, less comprehensive models, which are less accurate at modelling how the oceans takes up heat. In February, parts of the Arctic had already recorded temperatures 16°C above normal.

The warming caused by burning all fossil fuels would also have enormous impact on rainfall. The new research shows rainfall falling by two-thirds over parts of central America and north Africa and by half over parts of Australia, the Mediterranean, southern Africa and the Amazon.

Thomas Frölicher, at ETH Zürich in Switzerland and not involved in the new work, said: "Given that current trends in fossil fuel emissions would result in temperatures above [the 2°C Paris] target, policymakers need to have a clear view of what is at stake both on decadal and centennial timescales if no meaningful climate policies are put in place. The unregulated exploitation of fossil fuel resources could result in significant, more profound climate change.”

(Courtesy: The Guardian.com)




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Statue of Liberty and Venice among sites at risk from climate change
17.06.16 - Fiona Harvey
Statue of Liberty and Venice among sites at risk from climate change



Climate change now poses the single biggest threat to the world’s most famous heritage sites – including the Galápagos islands, the Statue of Liberty, Easter Island and Venice – according to a UN sponsored report.

The researchers looked at 31 natural and cultural world heritage sites in 29 countries that are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, more intense weather, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons. They believe this number is the tip of the iceberg.

There is an urgent and clear need to limit temperature rises to protect key heritage, the study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the UN heritage body UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concludes.

The Statue of Liberty in New York is one of the sites at risk from rising sea levels and storms, illustrated by the devastating Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Global warming is raising sea levels and increasing the risk of floods, droughts and potentially fiercer storms, all of which can cause severe damage. The Galápagos islands, where Charles Darwin gained insights into evolution, and monuments and natural wonders from the port of Cartagena in Colombia to the Shiretoko national park in Japan, were also named as being under threat.

Other sites that bring in important tourism revenue could be particularly badly hit, such as Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national park, where rising temperatures could affect the habitat of endangered mountain gorillas.

Stonehenge, the 5,000-year-old stone circle whose original purpose remains mysterious, is another of more than 30 major world heritage sites under threat from local flooding linked to global warming and increased rainfall.

"Climate change is affecting world heritage sites across the globe,” said Adam Markham, the lead author of the report. "Some Easter Island statues are at risk of being lost to the sea because of coastal erosion.” He also pointed to coral reefs, which have been bleached owing to higher temperatures, and the threat to wildlife living in the affected areas, as well as tourism, which is an important source of income helping to preserve many of the sites.

Scientists involved in the report said it was vital to limit global warming to no more than 2C, regarded by experts as the limit of safety beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. Governments agreed at a landmark climate conference last December that they would cut greenhouse gas emissions to the level needed to prevent temperatures rising that high.

"Now, more than ever, we need countries to back up with action the promises they made in Paris,” said Markham, in a conference call with journalists on Thursday.
Local economic development in the areas near world heritage sites – which UNESCO is charged with defining and helping to protect – would be damaged if the sites were affected by climate change, said Mechtild Roessler, director of UNESCO’s world heritage centre. That development is essential to protecting the sites, which include areas of natural beauty as well as monuments.

"This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Roessler. There is a clear need for more monitoring of important sites, according to the scientists, and coral reefs in particular are at a tipping point.

"There is no other threat [than climate change] that affects so many world heritage sites, and has so much potential to cause destruction,” said Markham. Other authors agreed that the report’s assessment was likely to be an underestimate.

Without strong action, many areas are likely to face huge bills to protect their treasures. A sea defense being built in Venice is likely to end up costing more than $6bn, for instance. Other studies have also found world heritage areas at risk. Last month, the WWF found that half of the world’s most valued sites were at risk from encroaching development.

(Courtesy: The Guardian)




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