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Strong commitment to climate action rooted in Vedas: PM Modi to UN chief Guterres

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United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres the motivation for his “strong commitment” to climate action is rooted in the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas.

Modi and Guterres met last week on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the two held discussions about climate change and India’s support for the Paris Climate Agreement. The UN chief thanked Modi for his commitment to increase India’s nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Guterres had also held discussions with Modi during his three-day visit to India this year coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2.

 

During that visit, Guterres had presented the Indian leader with the United Nations Champions of the Earth Award for policy leadership for 2018.

“[…] It’s not only Christianity, I was speaking to Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi of India recently and asking him what was his motivation for his very strong commitment to climate action and he said it’s in the Vedas, the founding books of Hinduism. I think this is felt in all religions…,”Guterres said at a press conference in Poland on Monday.

He was responding to a question on whether he thinks religions have a role to play in the field of climate change.

The transcript of the Secretary General’s joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda was issued by the UN spokesperson’s office here.

Guterres is in the Polish city Katowice for the high-level UN COP24 Climate Change Conference. The two-week 24th conference of the parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) marks the deadline for the 197 parties that signed the Convention, to adopt guidelines for the implementation of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

In Paris, three years ago, countries collectively agreed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to limit the rise to 1.5°C. Now, in Poland, they have to agree on how they will achieve this collectively.

Guterres was asked the question in a reference to Pope Francis’ views on climate change.

“I do believe that if one is a believer and one believes that the world is created by God, it must be terrible to see human beings destroying God’s creation. So I think it’s perfectly normal that a religion that believes in the work of the Creator is totally against the destruction of the work of the Creator that human beings are [carrying out at present]. So I think it is perfectly normal that his Holiness the Pope, not only this Pope, it comes from the past, have a very positive position in relation to climate action,” he said.

Pope Francis has in the past called for a “revolution” to combat climate change, saying the consensus was clear and “doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain”.

Kicking off the high-level event in Poland, along with several other high-level representatives, Guterres highlighted key messages for the thousands of representatives of the world’s nations, non-profit organisations, UN agencies, and private sector companies gathered in Katowice. The Secretary-General noted that climate change is already “a matter of life and death” for many people, nations and countries of the world, and that the science is telling us we need to move faster.

Citing various alarming UN reports – including one on rising global CO2 emissions and another one on increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere – he called on nations to pay attention to the science and step up their pace as well as their ambitions.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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