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More funds to fix climate issue

UN experts say Arab region needs over $570 billion by 2030 for climate change adaptation…reports Asian Lite News

The Arab region needs more than $ 570 billion by 2030 to reinforce its adaptation to climate change.

“The Arab region is highly vulnerable to climate change, which is affecting rural and urban communities alike, and having socioeconomic and environmental impacts,” said the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA).

As a summary of its new policy brief titled “Climate finance needs and flows in the Arab region,” the ESCWA said the Arab countries’ ability to allocate additional funds for climate action is limited by their fiscal space as the region’s public debt reached a historic high of 1.4 trillion dollars in 2020.

“This trend has been exacerbated by national efforts to fight the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic” in addition to the interest rate hikes, inflationary pressures and the conflict in Ukraine, it said.

Rola Dashti, executive secretary of ESCWA, said only 11 Arab countries have provided cost estimates of their financial needs for climate projects in accordance with their Paris Agreement commitments, calling for more to do so to receive financing. 

Water security

Egypt’s COP27 Presidency, in partnership with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), launched AWARe (Action on Water Adaptation or Resilience), an initiative that will champion inclusive cooperation to address water related challenges and solutions across climate change adaptation.

 AWARe aims at contributing to a successful outcome at the 2023 UN Conference on Water and it brings together the Water and Climate Coalition, the Adaptation Action Coalition as well as the Marrakesh Partnership Climate Action Pathway Water towards scaling up adaptation action.

Speaking on the initiative, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said: “Increasing water demand from a growing population and variable supply does not make for sound economics. As we work to design and implement solutions across adaptation, water management must feature prominently in the discussions and actions.

  “Water is life and is vital to sustaining lives and livelihoods. Through the AWARe initiative we are bringing together stakeholders to alleviate the challenges faced by the world’s vulnerable communities and ecosystems.”

 In close cooperation with African Union (AU) and African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) among other stakeholders, the initiative aims at offering transitional adaptation solutions for the planet and people.

 AWARe will focus on three priorities for action: decrease water losses worldwide and improve water supply; propose and support implementing mutually agreed policy and methods for cooperative water-related adaptation action and its co-benefits; and promote cooperation and interlinkages between water and climate action in order to achieve Agenda 2030, in particular SDG 6.

 AWARe was launched during the opening session of COP27’s Thematic Day for Water with addresses by Hani Sewilam, Egypt Minister of Water Systems, and Irrigation; Ambassador Ayman Amin Tharwat, Deputy Director for the Department of Climate, Environment and Sustainable Development for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary General of WMO.

People take photos of an artwork at the Green Zone of the 27th session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa/IANS)

Minister Hani Sewilam said: “The Global Water Crisis is affecting billions of people worldwide. The AWARe initiative will catalyze inclusive cooperation to address water as a key to climate change adaptation and its co-benefits, as well as enhanced resilience.”

Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary General of World Meteorological Institute, said: “Seventy-four per cent of all natural disasters are water related, we still need to do a lot more to help societies, we must have effective disaster management strategies that protect communities and limit climate-related hazards.”

The AWARe initiative promotes measures to decouple economic growth from freshwater use and degradation; develop national utilization plans, adaptation and mitigation strategies and protect and restore freshwater ecosystems; seek cooperative analysis of river basin scale adaptation and mitigation options and risk of mal-adaptation and support mutually agreed policy solutions to advance a ‘do-no-harm’ approach.

It seeks to support promotion of sustainable waste-water management, sanitation policies and strategies, and water-wise energy pathways besides working on improving early warning systems for extreme weather events.

It will also work towards linking water resources policies with national climate action to reflect climate change long-term impacts on water resources and demand, and to support preparedness and adaptation measures.

The Pan-African Center for Water Climate Adaptation, hosted by Egypt, will ensure the principal delivery mechanism and will focus on main activities and actions including finance, technology and capacity building.

ALSO READ-Climate action can stop 8.5L deaths in Africa 

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FIFA boss accuses Europe of ‘double standard’  

Infantino related the criticism to bullying and discrimination he said he experienced as a child of Italian parents who moved to work in Switzerland…reports Asian Lite News

FIFA president Gianni Infantino targeted European critics of World Cup host Qatar on Saturday and suggested a moral double standard in his home continent.

Infantino listed Europe’s problems on the eve of Qatar kicking off its home tournament that has been dogged for years by criticism of the emirate’s record on human rights and treatment of migrant workers who built stadiums and infrastructure.

“What we Europeans have been doing for the past 3,000 years we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral lessons to people,” Infantino said to hundreds of international media.

He said Qatar and capital city Doha will be ready to host the “best World Cup ever.”

“Today I feel Qatari,” Infantino said. “Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel a migrant worker.”

Infantino related the criticism to bullying and discrimination he said he experienced as a child of Italian parents who moved to work in Switzerland.

He said European nations now closed its borders to immigrants who wanted to work there, whereas Qatar had offered opportunities to workers from India, Bangladesh and other southeast Asian nations through legal channels.

Migrant laborers who built Qatar’s World Cup stadiums often worked long hours under harsh conditions and were subjected to discrimination, wage theft and other abuses as their employers evaded accountability, London-based rights group Equidem said in a 75-page report released this month.

Under heavy international scrutiny, Qatar has enacted a number of labor reforms in recent years that have been praised by Equidem and other rights groups. But advocates say abuses are still widespread and that workers have few avenues for redress.

“What has been put on the table in the past few months is something quite incredible,” the FIFA leader said of criticism of Qatar from Western media.

ALSO READ: Europe scrambles for African gas

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COP27: UN climate talks head into overtime

An extended plenary discussion has been agreed for midnight on Saturday, with a formal announcement of any final text expected a day later, reports Asian Lite News

The 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) will close at least one day later than expected as climate talks continued on Saturday, with the Egyptian Presidency calling for negotiators to “shift gears” so an agreement can be reached on the remaining sticking points.

While the conference saw over 35,000 people roaming over the past two weeks, the feeling was quite different on the closing day on Friday evening.

An extended plenary discussion has been agreed for midnight on Saturday, with a formal announcement of any final text expected a day later.

Climate negotiators told IANS that five texts are still live. The cover text, finance, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and the design of carbon markets are still causing problems.

In every track, the debate between countries almost seems to be where it was following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, says a negotiator.

Who’s saying what?

Saudi Arabia is still talking about ignoring the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and zero transparency carbon offsets, the US is still talking about what it is against but not what it’s for, China isn’t saying anything at all beyond its talking point on the immorality of western countries supporting fossil fuel phase out while increasing fossil fuel use in the face of the war induced energy crisis.

India has moved up the fossil-fuel phase out agenda, but not landed it, and the EU attempted to flip the script with their Loss and Damage proposal which made agreement on a facility dependent on ambitious mitigation and broadening the definition of who should supply money to fill it — aka the donor base.

As Carbon Brief points out, the EU proposal to just focus on vulnerable countries framed around the least developed countries and small islands would exclude Nigeria, Pakistan and Philippines — all hit hard in 2022 by extreme weather.

Some NGO representatives have expressed their discontent with the latest draft of the conference’s final outcome, also known as the “cover decision”.

“An EU climate damage fund for only the most vulnerable is 10 years out of date. Climate impacts are now so bad. How can you tell Pakistan for example, they can’t have access to support in the wake of 2022 floods? Delay tactic now biting rich countries,” Harjeet Singh, ActionAid, told IANS.

“It’s increasingly looking like a Glasgow ‘repetition COP’, particularly on fossil fuel phase out, there’s no progress from last year. There’s still no mention of phase out of oil and gas in the text.”

“We also don’t need a fund in name only. A fund that doesn’t specify the requirement for historic polluters to deliver finance and shifts the burden to undefined aother sources’ won’t meet the needs of vulnerable countries facing the adverse impacts of climate change,” remarked Mohamed Adow, Power Shift Africa.

The Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace (CRSP) initiative was launched at COP27, which seeks to ensure that integrated climate responses contribute to sustainable peace and development.

In an effort to spur the talks along, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday morning met separately with members of the European Union and the Group of 77 and China — which comprises almost all developing countries.

The UN chief also met with China’s Special Climate Envoy, Xie Zhenhua, and continued “extensive consultations” with several parties.

“As the negotiations draw to a close, the Secretary-General urges parties to aim for maximum ambition on loss and damage and in reduction of emissions,” said Guterres in a note issued in Sharm el-Sheikh by his spokesperson.

The success or failure of COP27 depends on the inclusion of an equitable phase out of all fossil fuels in the formal outcome, says a civil society expert.

Many countries, including Vanuatu and Tuvalu as well as large producers like the US, Norway, Colombia, and the EU are already pushing for this, but more countries must show clearer leadership.

The world supports them; half a million people just signed a petition calling on a global phase out of fossil fuels.

The Egyptian presidency and other nations have a choice: will they take the opportunity to shape a historic deal, or continue to disappoint and ignore the calls for all fossil fuels in the text.

Other countries must also step up, in particular Canada and Australia are two major producers that have so far been silent. More Latin American and African governments must also recognise that a just transition to renewable energy and not fossil fuels is worth fighting for at this COP.

The current lack of language around phasing out oil and gas in the formal draft text of the UN Climate Talks will strengthen Vanuatu and Tuvalu’s call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international mechanism that would see countries end the expansion of fossil fuels and manage a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas.

Responding to the EU’s proposal on a loss and damage Fund, CAN Europe Director Chiara Martinelli said, “We should acknowledge that in the past year the EU has moved significantly and is now supporting a loss and damage fund at COP27, including a new proposal to finance it by taxing polluters and fossil fuels.

People visit the Green Zone of the 27th session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa/IANS)

“To gain support, at this final stage of the negotiations, the EU needs to strengthen the inclusion of equity and recognise the historical responsibility of big emitters, bringing new and additional funds.”

Christian Aid warned that the US and Europe should stop trying to play power politics over the creation of a loss and damage fund.

Mariana Paoli, Christian Aid’s Global Advocacy Lead, said: “It is clear that the USA and Europe are trying to divide the developing country bloc of countries at COP27.A The new proposals from the EU on a loss and damage fund is an attempt to wriggle out of commitments made under the Paris Agreement which commits rich polluting countries to cut emissions in an effort to keep global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The EU is now trying to expand this to include lower income countries which go against the principles of the Paris Agreement, which states that it is developed countries which caused the climate crisis, that need to cut their emissions most urgently.”

ALSO READ: COP27: Action plan launched to speed up decarbonisation

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Musk to overhaul Twitter

Musk, who has acquired Twitter for $44 billion after a bitter battle, said in April this year that the micro-blogging platform needs long-form tweets which is “way overdue”….reports Asian Lite News

Elon Musk on Sunday said that Twitter can soon expand or even get rid of the 280-character limit on the platform.

He also confirmed that the company under him will look into increasing the length of videos so that users can post longer videos.

Responding to a user who asked if we can get rid of character limits, or at least greatly expand it, Musk said: “Absolutely”.

Another user asked him about posting longer videos on Twitter, to which he said: “100 per cent”.

Musk, who has acquired Twitter for $44 billion after a bitter battle, said in April this year that the micro-blogging platform needs long-form tweets which is “way overdue”.

Twitter currently allows people to post in 280 characters.

Reacting to a follower’s tweet thread, Musk said: “My most immediate takeaway from this novella of a thread is that Twitter is way overdue for long form tweets!”

Earlier, Musk demanded an Edit button, and the micro-blogging platform announced that it is working on such a feature that will allow users to correct errors in their tweets, albeit with some rules.

Twitter launched 280 characters in November 2017 to all users in supported languages, including English.

The company first announced the controversial plan to move beyond its traditional 140 characters in September 2017 with a small group of users.

Several Twitter users had argued that 280 characters would make Twitter less readable as the platform’s defining characteristic is the brevity of posts.

However, Twitter’s decision to double its character count from 140 to 280 characters did not dramatically change the length of Twitter posts.

According to the company, Twitter is still a place for briefer thoughts.

Only 1 per cent of tweets hit the 280-character limit, and only 12 per cent of tweets were longer than 140 characters, according to the data provided by the company a couple of years back. Only 5 per cent of tweets were longer than 190 characters.

ALSO READ: With Musk on helm, will Trump stage a Twitter comeback?

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Why India must not join the West in demonising Russia

Those who say we should choose sides should tell us which country has chosen sides in the decades old conflicts we have with China and Pakistan. Even our own neighbours have not, despite the power differential between us and them, writes Kanwal Sibal

India has had strong traditional ties with Russia. After the break-up of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Ukraine as an independent country, India has had friendly ties with it. Our relations with Russia have, of course, a historical depth, which is lacking in our ties with Ukraine. This has to condition our thinking and policies in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The issue of a security architecture in Europe based on the West’s strategy of expanding NATO eastwards or one responding to Russia’s concept of “indivisible security” has been of concern to India only to the extent that US/EU-Russia tensions leading to the imposition of a series of sanctions on Russia by the West have presented challenges to our diplomacy. We have had to protect our national interest by steering our way through, on the one hand, expanding ties with the US and strong ties with major European powers, and, on the other, our “time-tested” trustworthy ties with Russia.

Our interests are not served by choosing sides in the current conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. We are not in alliance with either side and therefore have no treaty obligations to honour. Those who say we should choose sides should tell us which country has chosen sides in the decades old conflicts we have with China and Pakistan. Even our own neighbours have not, despite the power differential between us and them.

The US-China economic relationship is the biggest in the world at the bilateral level and remains so despite China designated as an adversary and the current tensions over Taiwan. The US has over many years helped build communist China that neither believes in a free economy nor free people into a major power, in preference to a democratic India. The US-China relationship continues despite the current Chinese aggression against India in Ladakh. The US has not chosen between India and Pakistan despite the latter’s involvement in terrorism against India over decades and periodic triggering of military conflicts. Europe has not chosen between India and Pakistan or India and China. It has ties with our adversaries to the degree they serve individual country or collective interests.

Russia has been more sensitive to our concerns about Pakistan but has lately expanded its options vis-a-vis Islamabad. Russia is well aware of our problems with China but has not only remained neutral on India-China issues, it has under western geopolitical and economic pressure deepened its strategic ties with China, the implications of which we cannot overlook. Ukraine, of course, has not chosen sides in our conflicts with either Pakistan or China.

If in our joint statements with western countries or Russia terrorism is condemned and, in some cases, Pakistan based terror organisations are mentioned by name, it is because both the West and Russia have deep concerns about the threat of terrorism to their own security, independently of India. They are not taking sides with India; they are accepting that a shared threat from terrorism exists. In the case of Ukraine, India and the West have no shared concern over military threats from Russia.

If moral questions are raised by the West in criticising our neutral position on the Ukraine conflict, it can be equally validly argued that moral questions are equally involved in a jihadi militaristic regime in Pakistan exporting terror to India and an expansionist, bullying autocracy in China exercising its sovereignty claims over Indian territory with military tools.

Beyond all this, larger issues exist that would prevent us from aligning ourselves with the West on the Ukraine issue. Having suffered from western sanctions for decades aimed at obstructing our technological progress in strategic areas, we cannot support sanctions as a matter of principle, be it on Russia or other countries, unless approved by the UN Security Council. It is a different matter that we are forced to comply with unilaterally declared US sanctions in order to protect ourselves from secondary consequences. The policy of imposing sanctions has shown that there is scant regard for the interests of the developing world.

The Ukraine conflict has demonstrated the power of the West to control narratives about a situation or a country. Today, it is Russia, tomorrow it can be another country. India has a taste of it through the narratives being propagated by western media, including the social media, and the NGOs as well about the decline of democracy in India, violation of minority rights, Hindu nationalism, and so on. There is open interference in India’s internal affairs. In this, local Indian elements are complicit, and the goal is to shape India’s politics and society. India has to learn a lesson from the demonisation of Putin and Russia being promoted by western circles, including at the governmental level.

India has been backing the reform of the international system that would give more say to developing countries in international governance. The outlook for this is becoming darker. The fracturing of the international system currently happening will make any consensual reform impossible in the foreseeable future. The UN Security Council, already ineffective on matters of peace and security, will become even more so, with the West ranged on one side, Russia and China on the other, and India and developing countries in between. A false narrative of democracies versus autocracies is being constructed to replace the dichotomy between capitalism and communism during the Cold War. The G7 risks replacing the G20 (in which China and Russia are present) as the preferred forum for global financial management. This will be at the cost of the emerging economies and the furthering weakening of globalisation.

Wrong precedents have been set by confiscating Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, the private properties of Russian businessmen without due process of law and Russia’s expulsion from Swift. Others are closing the western airspace and ports to Russian planes and ships, calls for a blanket ban on visas for Russians to travel to the West, the capping the price of Russian oil etc.

If a call can be made for a regime change in Moscow or trying Putin as a war criminal and collection of evidence for that (egregiously even at the Heathrow airport), or seeking a military defeat of Russia through a proxy war disregarding the nuclear risks involved in confronting the world’s foremost nuclear power along with the US, the non-western world has to take cognisance of the consequences for global peace and cooperation of such excesses.

If India bats for multipolarity, the reasons are many and valid for our own global interests and role as we rise.

(Kanwal Sibal is India’s former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to Russia. Views expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianar
rative.com)

ALSO READ: UNGA Prez meets VP, thanks India for support

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‘Modern slavery on the rise’

The number of people in modern slavery has risen significantly in the last five years — 10 million more people were in modern slavery in 2021 compared to 2016 global estimates….reports Asian Lite News

In its latest report, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) said that 50 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021.

According to the latest report by the UN agency titled, ‘Global Estimates of Modern Slavery’, 28 million of these people were in forced labour and 22 million were trapped in forced marriage.

The number of people in modern slavery has risen significantly in the last five years — 10 million more people were in modern slavery in 2021 compared to 2016 global estimates.

Women and children remain disproportionately vulnerable, says the report.

Modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world, and cuts across ethnic, cultural and religious lines. More than half (52 per cent) of all forced labour and a quarter of all forced marriages can be found in upper-middle income or high-income countries.

Regarding forced labour, most cases (86 per cent) are found in the private sector.

According to the report, forced labour in sectors other than commercial sexual exploitation accounts for 63 per cent of all forced labour, while forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 23 per cent of all forced labour.

Almost four out of five of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation are women or girls.

State-imposed forced labour accounts for 14 per cent of people in forced labour.

Almost one in eight of all those in forced labour are children (3.3 million). More than half of these are in commercial sexual exploitation.

The report says that an estimated 22 million people were living in forced marriage on any given day in 2021 — an increase of 6.6 million since the 2016 global estimates.

“It is shocking that the situation of modern slavery is not improving. Nothing can justify the persistence of this fundamental abuse of human rights,” said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Antonio Vitorino, IOM Director-General, said: “This report underscores the urgency of ensuring that all migration is safe, orderly, and regular. Reducing the vulnerability of migrants to forced labour and trafficking in persons depends first and foremost on national policy and legal frameworks that respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, and potential migrants, at all stages of the migration process, regardless of their migration status.”

ALSO READ: 30% Lankan population on brink of acute food insecurity

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Monkeypox declared global health emergency

Expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that now qualifies as a global emergency.

The World Health Organisation on Saturday declared the monkeypox as public health emergency of international concern.

The global health body said the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that now qualifies as a global emergency.

“WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where we assess the risk as high,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gherbreyesus said in a statement.

The statement also said further that it is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment.

“So in short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations,” the WHO chief added.

“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” he added.

The WHO had previously declared emergencies for public health issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016 and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

Meanwhile, India has confirmed three cases of monkeypox, all reported in Kerala.

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‘Ukraine war shows West’s dominance ending’

The Ukraine war shows that the West’s dominance is coming to an end as China rises to superpower status in partnership with Russia at one of the most significant inflection points in centuries, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said…reports Asian Lite News

The world, Blair said, was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.

“We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance,” Blair said in a lecture entitled “After Ukraine, What Lessons Now for Western Leadership?” according to a text of the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.

“The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar,” Blair said. “The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands and triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin says the West has declared economic war by trying to isolate Russia’s economy with sanctions and the Kremlin says Russia will turn to powers such as China and India.

The war in Ukraine, Blair said, had clarified that the West could not rely on China “to behave in the way we would consider rational”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued supporting Putin and criticised sanctions “abuse” by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a “strategic partnership” with China.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms it has become the world’s second-largest economy.

ALSO READ:Ukraine carrier cargo plane crashes in Greece

Its economy is forecast to overtake the United States within a decade and it leads in some 21st century technologies such as artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine and conductive polymers.

“China’s place as a superpower is natural and justified. It is not the Soviet Union,” said Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007. Its allies are likely to be Russia and Iran.

The West should not let China overtake militarily, he said.

“We should increase defence spending and maintain military superiority,” Blair said. The United States and its allies “should be superior enough to cater for any eventuality or type of conflict and in all areas.”

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Russia has lost 50,000 soldiers, says military chief

Russia has lost some 50,000 killed or wounded soldiers in its invasion of Ukraine and nearly 1,700 tanks have been destroyed, the head of Britain’s armed forces says…reports Asian Lite News

But Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC in an interview broadcast on July 17 that any speculation the losses could bring down the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was just “wishful thinking.”

“I think some of the comments that he’s not well or that actually surely somebody’s going to assassinate him or take him out, I think they’re wishful thinking,” he said of Putin.

“As military professionals, we see a relatively stable regime in Russia. President Putin has been able to quash any opposition. We see a hierarchy that is invested in President Putin and so nobody at the top has got the motivation to challenge President Putin,” Radakin added.

“And that is bleak.”

The British military chief said that, with the setbacks in Ukraine, Russia’s land forces may now pose less of a threat than they did before the war.

Along with the losses in personnel and tanks, Russia has seen some 4,000 of its armored fighting vehicles destroyed since its February 24 invasion, according to his estimates.

ALSO READ: ‘Russia doesn’t want to end war’

“But Russia continues to be a nuclear power. It’s got cyber-capabilities, it’s got space capabilities, and it’s got particular programs underwater, so it can threaten the underwater cables that allow the world’s information to transit around the whole globe.”

G20 members denounce war

Many participants in the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Indonesia’s Bali have strongly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and called for an end to it.

Indonesia’s G20 presidency said this in a statement after the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held on July 15-16, Ukrinform reported.

“Many [G20] members agreed that the recovery of the global economy has slowed and is facing a major setback as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which was strongly condemned, and called for an end to the war,” the statement said.

“The majority of members agreed that there is an alarming increase of food and energy insecurity, which are felt disproportionately by vulnerable groups. Some also expressed concerns about fertilizer availability which has the potential to further exacerbate the food crisis. Members affirmed their commitment to use all available policy tools to address current economic and financial challenges, including the risk of food insecurity,” the statement said.

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More nations keen to join BRICS

The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) account for over 40 per cent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt plan to join BRICS, and their potential membership bids could be discussed and answered at next year’s summit in South Africa, BRICS International Forum President Purnima Anand told Russian media on Thursday.

“All these countries have shown their interest in joining (BRICS) and are preparing to apply for membership. I believe this is a good step, because expansion is always looked upon favourably, it will definitely bolster BRICS’ global influence,” Anand told Russian newspaper Izvestia.

The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) account for over 40 per cent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP. The bloc’s stated purposes include promoting peace, security, development, and cooperation globally, and contributing to the development of humanity, RT reported.

Anand said the issue of expansion was raised during this year’s BRICS summit, which took place in late June in Beijing.

The BRICS Forum President said she hopes the accession of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt will not take much time, given that they “are already engaged in the process”, though she doubts that all three will join the alliance at the same time, RT reported.

“I hope that these countries will join the BRICS quite shortly, as all the representatives of core members are interested in expansion. So it will come very soon,” Anand added.

The news of the three nations’ plans to join the BRICS comes after Iran and Argentina officially applied for membership in late June, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh touting the bloc as a “very creative mechanism with broad aspects”.

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