Khamis, 9 Januari 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

China mulls national pollution permit trading system

Posted: 09 Jan 2014 08:45 PM PST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will look into establishing a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits as part of efforts to use market mechanisms to help clean up its environment, the country's top environment official said.

In remarks published on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection ( on Friday, minister Zhou Shengxian said China was working on new regulations for pollution permits and would also publish proposals for new pilot trading projects as soon as possible.

China has vowed to reverse the environmental consequences of three decades of breakneck industrial expansion and clean up its heavily polluted air, water and soil and is hoping to use the market to encourage firms to cut emissions.

Provinces pledged this week to meet targets set by the ministry to cut air pollution by 5 to 25 percent. The ministry said it was considering a system to evaluate progress.

Authorities regularly issue directives to try to tackle air pollution in major cities, but the effect has been limited with enforcement still lax and economic growth seen as the priority.

China already has more than 20 local trading platforms that allow industrial firms to buy and sell permits for pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, major constituents of smog and acid rain. But their impact has been limited, said Ma Zhong, the dean of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Renmin University.

"Emission trading in China is not strictly a market activity and it is more like paying for emitting. It is just a few regions running some test trading," he told Reuters.

Five cities and regions set up new pilot carbon trading platforms last year to encourage local enterprises to address soaring greenhouse gas emissions and two more will be launched in 2014. China aims to have a nationwide carbon emissions trading system later in the decade.

On Friday, the seven pilot carbon trading platforms signed an agreement with other environmental exchanges to look into trading not only carbon credits but also pollution, water and energy use permits.

Environment minister Zhou said China planned to cut major pollutants like sulphur dioxide and ammonium nitrate by 2 percent over 2014. Nitrogen oxides would be slashed by 5 percent.

China said late last year that it was struggling to meet environmental targets for the 2011-2015 period, with energy and carbon intensity targets still behind schedule.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, expected to fall 10 percent over the 2011-2015 period, actually rose 2.82 percent by the end of 2012. Zhou said the total amount was expected to have fallen by more than 3.5 percent last year.

(Reporting by David Stanway and Kathy Chen; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Indian envoy leaves U.S. in deal to calm diplomatic row

Posted: 09 Jan 2014 08:30 PM PST

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip-search caused a major rift in U.S.-Indian ties was effectively expelled from the United States on Thursday as part of a deal in which she was granted diplomatic immunity from charges of visa fraud and lying about underpaying her nanny.

Devyani Khobragade, who was deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested on December 12 and indicted on Thursday by a grand jury for visa fraud and making false statements about how much she paid her housekeeper.

Her arrest set off protests in India amid disclosures that she was handcuffed and strip-searched. The dispute soured the broader U.S.-India bilateral relationship, leading to sanctions against American diplomats in New Delhi and the postponement of visits to India by senior U.S. officials and another by a U.S. business delegation.

A United Nations diplomat familiar with the case said Khobragade had flown out of the United States. In India, the foreign ministry said she was being transferred to a post in New Delhi.

Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack said she would leave with her head "held high."

"She knows she has done no wrong and she looks forward to assuring that the truth is known," he said in a statement.

While both New Delhi and Washington stressed the importance of their bilateral relationship during the crisis, it has taken weeks of complex wrangling to find a workable solution both sides could live with.

Documents and statements from U.S. officials reveal a dizzying 24 hours in which the State Department granted Khobragade diplomatic immunity, unsuccessfully asked India to waive that immunity and ordered her to leave the country immediately.

According to documents provided by Arshack, the U.S. mission sent a letter to Khobragade on Wednesday granting her diplomatic status as of 5.47 p.m. (2147 GMT) that day.


On Thursday, the Indian mission to the United Nations rejected the State Department's request that her immunity be waived. Then in a diplomatic note, the U.S. mission requested Khobragade's immediate departure from the United States and said it would take steps to prevent her from obtaining a visa in the future. It also said Khobragade, 39, who is married to an American, risked arrest if she tried to return.

"Upon her departure a warrant may be issued for her arrest and should she seek to enter the United States she could be arrested," the note said.

There was no immediate comment from the Indian Embassy in Washington or its mission to the United Nations.

The foreign ministry statement in New Delhi said: "At the time of her departure for India, Counsellor Khobragade reiterated her innocence on charges filed against her.

"She also affirmed her determination to ensure that the episode would not leave a lasting impact on her family, in particular, her children, who are still in the United States."

India was incensed by the treatment of Khobragade and has curtailed privileges offered to U.S. diplomats in New Delhi. On Wednesday it ordered the U.S. Embassy to close a club for expatriate Americans there.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz postponed a visit to India scheduled for next week. This move came days after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Nisha Desai Biswal delayed her first visit to the country to avoid the trip becoming embroiled in the dispute.

The arresting authority, the U.S. Marshals Service, characterized the strip search as a routine procedure imposed on any new arrestee.

As well as this treatment of Khobragade, India was angered that the United States took it upon itself to fly the nanny's family out of India. The prosecuting attorney, Preet Bharara of Manhattan, an ethnic Indian, said attempts were made in India to "silence" the nanny, Sangeeta Richard, and compel her to return home.

Safe Horizon, a non-government organisation that campaigns for victims of abuse, said that although Richard's legal presence in the United States was tied to her employment, she had been granted temporary permission to remain while she cooperates with law enforcement as a victim of human trafficking.

It said Richard was likely to apply for a special "T-1" visa reserved for trafficking victims. Such a visa would be valid for up to four years and allow her to work in the United States. It can also lead to lawful permanent residence, according to the website of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Khobragade's departure would remove the focus of current friction between New Delhi and Washington, but it is unclear how long it will take the anger to subside in the run-up to national elections in India in May. Also, the continued presence of Richard in the United States could prove an irritant.

The case has exposed underlying problems in a bilateral relationship that has failed to live up to its billing by President Barack Obama in 2010 as "a defining partnership for the 21st Century."

Critics accuse Obama of failing to pay sufficient attention to ties with a country viewed as a key strategic counterbalance to China and as an engine to boost the U.S. economy, while American hopes of building a more robust business relationship with India have run into bureaucratic hurdles.

Indian sourcing rules for retail, information technology, medicine and clean energy products are contentious and U.S. firms complain about "unfair" imports from India of everything from shrimp to steel pipes. In June, more than 170 U.S. lawmakers signed a letter to Obama about Indian policies they said threatened U.S. jobs.

Speaking at a seminar on Thursday, Ron Somers, president of the U.S.-India Business Council blamed "bumbling on both sides" for the Khobragade affair.

"We have to do some thinking on this side as to what has there been in the way of frustration that allowed this incident to provoke and spill over as it has," he said.

"We really need now to be building trust and taking an introspective look at whether we really mean what we say when we talk about strategic partnership and how do we get there."

(Reporting by Nate Raymond, Joseph Ax and Chris Francescani in New York, David Brunnstrom in Washington, Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations and Frank Jack Daniel in New Delhi; Editing by Clive McKeef, Eric Walsh and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Singapore supermarket tycoon's mother abducted in rare kidnap case

Posted: 09 Jan 2014 08:20 PM PST

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Two men were charged with kidnapping on Friday in Singapore after the elderly mother of a supermarket tycoon was abducted and held for ransom, a rare instance in a country that prides itself on its low crime rate.

Lim Hock Chee, founder and chief executive of Sheng Siong Group Ltd, said his mother, 79, was lured into a car on Wednesday morning by a man who said he had seen her son injured in a bad fall.

The kidnappers then called Lim and demanded a S$20 million ransom. After almost 12 hours of negotiations, Lim left S$2 million in a bag under a tree in a park, and his mother was then released in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"This was a very scary experience, every minute was in fear," Lim said in a video posted on the website of the Straits Times daily.

The two men were arrested an hour after the victim's release, according to the Singapore Police Force and the money recovered. They were charged in court on Friday morning.

Lim is the 35th richest man in Singapore according to Forbes Singapore in 2013, with a net worth of S$654 million.

He established Sheng Siong in 1985 and it operates 33 stores. The company listed in August 2011 and is valued at S$835.33 million.

The kidnapping was only the fourth such case on the island in 13 years. Singapore, which provides for the death penalty or caning for certain offences, has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, with 581 cases of crime per 100,000 people, according to official figures.

"Kidnapping for ransom is very rare in Singapore, but is a very severe offence, which is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty," deputy commissioner of police Hoong Wee Teck said in a statement.

($1 = 1.2715 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting By Brian Leonal; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Ron Popeski)


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved