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Mexico’s Lopez Obrador sets $7.5 billion for youths, elderly

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Mexico City: President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised $7.5 billion for youth job training and aid to the elderly Wednesday, keystone programs that could make Mexico’s business sector one of the biggest beneficiaries of his first year in office.

Lopez Obrador pledged the government would pay the salaries of apprentices employed by Mexican companies as part of a $5 billion package of scholarships and job training. The once-fiery leftist met with Mexican businessmen on Wednesday in a surprisingly chummy encounter where he sealed the job-training deal in a handshake with business chamber leader Juan Pablo Castanon.

 

The programs for the elderly and youths will be the cornerstones of Lopez Obrador’s first year in office, which starts when he takes office Dec. 1. “We will have to come up with this funding … even if we are left without a shirt on our backs,” Lopez Obrador vowed. The president-elect — whose victory must still be certified by electoral authorities and the courts — implied that most of his other campaign promises will be left to later years in office. Lopez Obrador was elected in a landslide Sunday.

 

Lopez Obrador pledged $2 billion to extend and increase old-age supplementary payments to the elderly so that every Mexican over 68 will receive at least the equivalent of $2.25 per day. The elderly payments initially started in Mexico City when Lopez Obrador was mayor in the early 2000s, but he has now pledged to fund them at the same level as in the capital — currently about $60 per month — nationwide. But the youth program appeared to be a big gift to the business sector: Companies will get much of the $5 billion to pay salaries to youths; the remainder will apparently go to technical colleges and universities or to scholarships.

 

The firms will give their apprentices certificates of competence, but apparently won’t be required to hire them after their apprenticeships. The program is aimed at reducing the number of unemployed youths recruited by drug cartels, or as Lopez Obrador put it in a campaign slogan “Students on scholarships, not cartel hit men.”

 

Juan Pardinas, director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, said plans for apprenticeship programs already exist in the private sector, but it is important that the government is getting on board. The opportunity of a paid apprenticeship could keep many young people from beginning to work in the informal economy as they do now and hopefully set them on a path for better earnings.


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International

Trump will suffer same fate as Saddam: Iran’s Rouhani

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Tehran :President Hassan Rouhani says Iranians will defeat US President Donald Trump like what they did to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
He made the remarks in a military parade in Tehran on Saturday to mark the beginning of the week that commemorates Iran’s eight-year resistance against Iraq’s 1980-88 invasion.
About 600 vessels took part in the Persian Gulf naval drill, a day after Iran held aerial exercises in the waterway, vowing that a “pounding reply” awaited the country’s enemies.
Trump withdrew from a landmark multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
“The same will happen to Trump. America will suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein,” Rouhani said.
The president also said Iran will not abandon its defensive weapons, including its missiles “that make America so angry”.

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Guterres to make first India visit as UN chief on Oct 1, to open UN House

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United Nations:UN chief Antonio Guterres will travel to India early next month, his first trip to the country as head of the world body that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Secretary-General will arrive in New Delhi on October 1. His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 next year, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told reporters here on Friday.
On October 1, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi and on October 2, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.
During the visit, he will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 3.
He will also meet with Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan before giving a lecture at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme ‘Global challenges, global solutions’.
The Secretary-General will also take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. In the afternoon of October 3, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will return to New York on October 4.
Guterres had visited India in July 2016, just months ahead of the election for Secretary General. During his visit then, he had met Swaraj.
Replying to a question on Guterres’ trip to the Golden Temple, Haq said that the visit is essentially a personal one as the UN chief wanted to see the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.
When asked if Guterres will be asked questions about the 1984 Sikh riots, Haq said it was a bit “premature” to mention the topics he will bring up.
Haq also expressed the world body’s gratitude to the Indian government for its contribution of $1 million to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat.
The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management Jan Beagle, who said that “India’s generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies”.
The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, Haq added.

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Rouhani vows to boost Iran missiles despite western concerns

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Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Saturday to boost Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.
“We will never decrease our defensive capabilities… we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade.
“The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West. Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and US bases in the Middle East.

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