|W O R L D||
Sunday, April 11, 1999
|US-China talks on WTO fail
WASHINGTON, April 10 Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji cited new complications in talks with US officials on Chinas entry into the World Trade Organisation, saying Washington had sought too many concessions.
Duma delays verdict on impeachment
MOSCOW, April 10 Parliament put off a final decision on when to open an impeachment debate against President Boris Yeltsin, the most serious effort yet to oust the Russian leader.
BHUTAN: Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh with Bhutan King Jigme Wangchuk and queens at a luncheon in Dechenchholing on Friday. PTI
in imports from EU
held in Lankan ransom case
US-China talks on WTO fail
WASHINGTON, April 10 (AFP) Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji cited new complications in talks with US officials on Chinas entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), saying Washington had sought too many concessions.
Speaking at a dinner here yesterday more than an hour behind schedule, Zhu said he was late because new complications have come up on the issue of the WTO.
I feel that we should be able to reach agreement on market access but the US side wants still more, Zhu told a dinner hosted by the American China Society and the National Committee on US-China relations.
They want a greater investment ratio and lower tariffs, but cant you just wait a while? If you want too much too soon, in the end you may wind up with nothing, he said.
Neither Chinese Trade Minister Wu Yi nor President Bill Clintons Chief Asia Adviser Kenneth Lieberthal appeared at the dinner, and Zhu said he believed they were still negotiating.
Zhu, known for his animated style and self-deprecating humour, appeared irritated by what he described as excessive US demands during a state visit aimed mainly at repairing new strains in US-Chinese ties.
Those troubles stem largely from new allegations that China stole US nuclear weapons technology in the 1980s and again in the mid-1990s.
I think its time to turn the theory of China as a threat into the theory of China as an opportunity. US business should not pass up this opportunity, Zhu said.
I originally was not intending to speak about these matters ... but yesterday the American side made public all documents and papers and said the Chinese side had agreed to these, but we had not agreed, he said.
Even if I were to sign these papers, the people of China would not accept this. Its not that Im afraid of losing my job we are a developing country, Zhu said.
Zhus speech wrapped up the Washington leg of his six-city, nine-day brainstorming tour of the USA, which will now take him to Denver and then to Chicago, New York and Boston.
In an interview yesterday with PBS Television, Zhu blamed US domestic politics for the absence of a final WTO agreement on Thursday.
He described Washington and Beijing as very, very close to a deal that would end a 13-year impasse over Chinas WTO bid.
But because of the current political atmosphere, my understanding is that President Clinton feels that this would not be an opportune time to finalise it, Zhu said.
On the second full day of his official visit to Washington, Zhu found common ground with Vice-President Al Gore on protecting the environment, inking several deals to step up cooperation in that area.
AP adds: China agreed to slash high border tariffs on thousands of US products, from cars to corn, to open up its vast retail banking system to US banks and to drop demands that US high-technology companies share their technology as a condition of landing contracts.
For the first time, China also agreed to allow US telecommunications companies controlling interests in firms serving a vast potential market where only one in 10 households now has a phone.
The hitch is that China made the offers contingent on getting US approval for an overall package that would allow China to enter the WTO.
beseeched by labour unions, the textile industry and the
steel industry, decided it needed more Chinese
concessions. Those included a demand that Chinese goods
shipped to USA be subjected to quotas for five years
longer than currently permitted under WTO rules.Mr Zhu,
Chinas leading economic reformer, rejected these
Duma delays verdict on impeachment
MOSCOW, April 10 (AP) Parliament put off a final decision on when to open an impeachment debate against President Boris Yeltsin, the most serious effort yet to oust the Russian leader.
Dominated by hardliners bent on Mr Yeltsins ouster, parliament yesterday decided it needed more time to consider the issue and will vote next week on whether to delay the debate, tentatively set to begin April 15.
Mr Gennady Seleznyov, Speaker of Parliaments Lower House, told lawmakers that Mr Yeltsin himself suggested a delay. But presidential spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said Mr Yeltsin does not want the vote postponed.
The impeachment motion is considered a long shot, but Mr Yeltsins frequent illnesses and Russias economic crisis have weakened his power and made his ouster more likely than it once was.
The motion must win a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament and approval by Russias highest courts. The Upper House, the Federation Council, has been more supportive of Mr Yeltsin in the past than the Lower House.
A Duma panel has charged Mr Yeltsin with instigating the 1991 Soviet collapse, improperly using force against hard-line lawmakers in 1993, launching a botched war in Chechnya, bringing the nations military to ruin and waging genocide against the Russian people by pursuing economic policies that impoverished the country.
Mr Yeltsin said
yesterday that he wasnt going to introduce a state
of emergency, ban the Communist Party or fire Prime
Minister Yevgeny Primakov, all rumours that had been
circulating in Parliament during the day.
India, Pak population bomb
WASHINGTON, April 10 (PTI) India and Pakistan are among the countries that face a demographic train wreck by 2050 due to their burgeoning population, a latest independent study says.
While India, which will overtake China as the worlds most populous nation in a few years, faces a disaster, Pakistan has a calamity staring at it, the study by the Worldwatch Institute, titled Beyond Malthus, says.
Indias population, which will hit a billion this August and in 2050 is expected to stand at 1,529 million as against Chinas 1,478 million, will be strongly hit by scarcity of arable land and potable water, the study authored by Worldwatch Institute president Lester R. Brown, Gary Gardner and Brian Halweil says.
The availability of arable land in India, already facing shortage of water in parts of the country, will be reduced to less than one-tenth of a hectare, far lesser than a typical suburban lot in the USA.
Pakistan has grimmer prospects with its 1998 population of 142 million exploding to 345 million and its people having arable land of 0.03 of a hectare per head by 2050.
In effect, says Worldwatch, Pakistans farmers are losing the battle with population growth.
Three countries where grainland has shrunk to 0.03 hectares per head Japan, South Korea and Taiwan import some 70 per cent of their grain needs.
As for water, new estimates for India, says Worldwatch, indicate that withdrawals are now double the rate of aquifer recharge.
As a result, water tables are falling by one to three metres per year over much of the country. Overpumping today means water supply cutbacks tomorrow, a serious matter where half of the grain harvest comes from irrigated land, it says.
The International Water Management Institute, Brown Notes, estimates that aquifer depletion and the resulting cutbacks in irrigation water could drop Indias grain harvest by one-fourth.
In a country where 53 per cent of all children are already malnourished and underweight, a shrinking harvest could increase hunger-related deaths, adding to the six million worldwide who die each year from hunger and malnutrition, the study says.
India, Worldwatch notes, has achieved impressive gains in its harvest but these have been largely cancelled by population growth, leaving most of its 989 million people living close to the margin.
Brown sees one-third of humanity with several other developing countries keeping company with India and Pakistan sliding into a demographic dark hole.
The global population, which is expected to pass the six billion mark on October 12, is now projected at 8.9 billion by 2050 against the earlier projection on 9.4 billion.
Tragically, says Brown, the world is dividing into two parts: one where population growth is slowing as fertility falls, and one where population growth is slowing as mortality rises.
The two regions where death rates are already rising, or are likely to do so, are sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Barring a medical miracle, many African countries will lose one-fifth or more of their adult population to AIDS within the next decade, the study warns.
With four million of its adults now HIV positive, India is home to more infected individuals than any other nation, it says.
The infection rate among
Indias adults is already roughly one per cent. That
is a critical threshold for potentially rapid spread and
the HIV epidemic now threatens to engulf the country if
the government does not move quickly to check it, the
Clintons greetings on birth of Khalsa
WASHINGTON, April 10 (PTI) U S President Bill Clinton has sent warm greetings to Sikhs on the occasion of Khalsa Panth Tercentenary, commending the community for its commitment towards preserving the values of religion.
As you mark this important milestone, I commend each of you for your commitment to preserving the values and traditions of the Sikh faith and to sharing them with a new generation, he said in a message released yesterday.
By building on a rich past, you are helping to make a brighter future for us all, he said in the message released through Dr Rajwant Singh, Executive Director of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation here.
Throughout our nations history, Americans have drawn strength, hope and inspiration from their religious traditions and ethnic heritage. Even as we seek to become a more united people, we must not forget our roots, for they remind us of who we are and of what we have to share with others, Clinton said.
The Guru Gobind Singh
Foundation, which represents the Sikhs in an umbrella
organisation of all religious faiths, and gurdwaras in
the U S are celebrating the tercentenary with religious
functions, meetings and seminars, stressing that Sikhism
is a faith that seeks to unite all religions.
Fall in imports from EU
BRUSSELS, April 10 (UNI) India has recorded a surplus in its trade with the European Union (EU) for the first time in this decade, a senior official said.
Import and export figures available for first 11 months of 1998 show that Indias exports to the EU totalled $ 10.1 billion while imports were $ 9.7 billion.
This means an increase of 4.2 per cent in Indian exports and 6.4 per cent decrease in imports over the previous years performance, said Mr Andre Chalmin, Administrator at the European Commissions Director General for External Relations.
The 15-member EU Remains Indias largest trading partner with 26 per cent share of Indias exports and 25 per cent of imports. The exports comprise of textiles and clothing, gems and jewellery, leather and related products, engineering goods, agriculture items and allied products.
Germany, Britain and Belgium account for nearly 70 per cent of Indian imports from the EU, the same three countries and Italy account for nearly 70 per cent of Indian exports to the EU.
One big economy with which India trades very little is France, comprising just 10 per cent of total EU India trade.
Indian exports to the EU grew at a bouyant rate of 20 per cent and 17 per cent in 1993 and 1994 followed by healthy growth rates of 12 to 10 per cent in the next three years. The export growth rate of 4.2 per cent in 1998 is in line with the overall global recession during this period.
Compared with this, Indian imports from the EU show a more uneven trend with growth rate of 20 per cent in 1993 followed by 12 per cent in 1994 and a whopping 34 per cent in 1995. This was followed expectedly by a subdued growth rate of 3 to 4 per cent in the next two years. A negative growth rate of 6.4 per cent in 1998 was due to economic slowdown in Indian industry.
Mr Chalmin said a look at the export basket showed subtle change over the past five years. India continued to export the same commodities. However, there are some changes worth mentioning.
Cop held in Lankan ransom case
COLOMBO, April 10 (AP) A police officer and 10 others were arrested and most of the ransom money was recovered in Sri Lankas biggest kidnapping for ransom case, the police has said.
A police officer, three military deserters and seven others have been arrested in the past week and Rs 17 million ($ 261,000) recovered in the March 30 kidnapping of a company director. The Director was released a day later when his wife paid the ransom money, police officer Nuwan Wedasinghe said yesterday.
The kidnappers, who
included a police officer, stopped Mr G.C.
Wickremasinghes vehicle at Colombos elegant
golf club and took him and the driver to a hide-out in
the suburbs. They then called the tycoons wife and
threatened to kill him if she did not pay the ransom.
|Dalai Lama hailed
BUENOS AIRES: Tibets spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been declared an honorary citizen of this city but drew fire from a Chinese envoy. Buenos Aires opens its arms and is listening to you, city Mayor Fernando de La Rua said on Friday praising the Dalai Lamas contribution to and diffusion of religious beliefs. In an address to the Argentine Congress on Thursday, the Buddhist monk appealed for continued international support for Tibets autonomy while calling for universal understanding and the promotion of human rights. The Dalai Lama said Chinas hardening position had stalled any dialogue. AFP
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