LONDON (United Kingdom): Rishi Sunak has been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer – the UK’s finance minister – in succession to Sajid Javid, who resigned on a point of principle on Thursday, 13 February, after being ordered to sack his closest advisers.
Sunak, 39, has been the Conservative MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire since 2015 when he was selected for the safe seat in succession to former Foreign Secretary William Hague.
His rise from backbencher to Chancellor – the second most important position in the government – in less than five years is nothing short of meteoric.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has promoted him from Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a role he was given in July 2019.
Prior to that, he was the parliamentary under-secretary for housing, communities and local government under Theresa May.
Sunak, like Johnson, campaigned for leave during the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016 and voted three times for Theresa May’s deal.
He was an “early adopter” of the Boris Johnson project when the former Foreign Secretary launched his leadership bid in the spring of last year.
Who is Rishi Sunak?
MP for Richmond in Yorkshire since 2015, Sunak is the son of Yashvir, an NHS GP, and Usha, a pharmacist, who moved to the UK from Punjab, India in the 1960s.
Born in 1980 in Southampton, Hampshire, he attended the prestigious Winchester College before going on to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.
He also earned an MBA from Stanford University in the US, becoming a Fulbright scholar.
Before entering politics he worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs and a hedge fund, then co-founded an investment firm.
Seen as a rising star in the Conservative Party, he has been touted for the top since first arriving in Parliament five years ago.
However, at the age of 39, he misses out on being the youngest chancellor of the past century by just a single year – George Osborne was 38 when he took charge of the Treasury in 2010.
And before his rise to Chancellor, Tory officials saw he was the “perfect fit” for Johnson’s new Cabinet.
During the Brexit campaign, he voted to leave the EU but kept a relatively low profile during the 2016 referendum and voted for Theresa May’s Brexit deal on all three occasions.
In July 2019, Mr Johnson picked by Mr Johnson to be the chief secretary to the Treasury, after he had served as parliamentary under-secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019.
In 2009, he married Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, who co-founded business consulting firm Infosys.
The couple has two daughters together.
Sunak is a cricket and football enthusiast and also a Bollywood movie fan.
India and Norway To Work For Mitigating Marine Plastic Litter And Microplastics
2020, a Super Year for Environment and Biodiversity and will be a deciding year for the course of action for the decade.
GANDHINAGAR (Gujarat): India marks the beginning of the Super Year of Biodiversity with the hosting of the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, from February 17-22, 2020, at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Addressing a press conference, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the year 2020 is a super year of Environment and will set the tone and tenor for the decade ahead. Highlighting the urgent nature of global environmental issues including marine plastic litter, plastic pollution and microplastics, the Union minister said the issues cannot be solved by any one country alone.
On the side-lines of the COP, the Union Minister met a delegation led by Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevan.
India and Norway today agreed to jointly tackle concerns related to oceans, environment and climate matters. The text of the Joint statement is as follows:
Meeting at the beginning of the ‘2020 Super Year’ for the environment, the Ministers stressed that they will do their share to ensure that the 2020s will be a decade of rapid action on climate and environment
The two sides expressed interest to continue and strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation on environment and climate between the two countries, including on ocean affairs
Actions that target climate change and air pollution at the same time pose a win-win situation. The two sides recognized that such actions should be stepped up, and agreed to work together to raise this agenda
The Ministers recognized that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phasing down the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) could prevent up to 0.40C of warming by end of the century, Further, noting that universal ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol shall allow the realization of its full potential
The Ministers noted the results of the projects supported by Norway on issues/aspects related to phase-down of HFCs. It was agreed to continue such projects for facilitating a smooth transition towards energy-efficient solutions and technologies while phasing down HFCs
If managed properly, the ocean holds the key to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Integrated ocean management is central to achieving a sustainable blue economy. In 2019 Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Solberg welcomed the signing of the MoU on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and the establishment of the Joint Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development. The two Ministers were pleased with the progress that has been made under this MoU, including the establishment of the Marine Pollution Initiative. They were particularly satisfied that Norway and India will sign a Letter of Intent on integrated ocean management including sustainable Blue Economy initiatives
The Ministers also noted the importance of delivering concrete, scalable solutions for ocean health and wealth at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on June 2020
The Ministers further noted the importance of sustainable management of chemicals and waste and welcomed the cooperation between India and Norway on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and on the minimisation of discharge of marine litter
The Ministers emphasized a shared understanding of the global and urgent nature of marine plastic litter and microplastics and underlined that this issue cannot be solved by any one country alone. They are committed to supporting global action to address plastic pollution and exploring the feasibility of establishing a new global agreement on plastic pollution
The Ministers agreed to support and work together with other political leaders to prompt a global and effective response to curb the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. They agreed to work together to deliver an ambitious, strong, practical and effective global biodiversity framework at COP15 of CBD to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020
The Ministers further discussed the conservation of migratory species of wild animals. The Ministers recognized the importance of integrating ecological connectivity into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
The Ministers stressed that international supply chains and finance must de-invest from deforestation and destruction of nature and invest in companies and projects that improve smallholder livelihoods while promoting sustainable production and consumption. They agreed to continue the discussion on forests and deforestation free supply chains
The Ministers stressed that the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme offers a good opportunity to call for greater international action on several environmental issues, in particular strengthening action for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Minister Rotevatn thanked Minister Javadekar for the great hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit. He invited Minister Javadekar to visit Norway and the Arctic, to further strengthen the collaboration between India and Norway on climate and environment
Norway and India will explore areas of cooperation in forestry and linking the same with climate change
FATF Meet In Paris To Take Stock Of Pakistan’s Role In Terror Financing
PARIS (France): On Sunday, February 16, more than 800 representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions around the world, the IMF, UN, World Bank and other organisations, arrived for FATF Week in Paris, France. Six days of meetings will focus on global action to follow the money that fuels crime and terrorism and reduce the harm caused to people and society.
(1) Pakistan Fails To Get Off FATF Grey List; Warned To Comply Before Feb 2020
(2) Pakistan’s FATF Compliance Very Poor: APG report
(3) Pakistan Placed On ‘Enhanced Monitoring List’ By FATF’s APG
(4) Pakistan Placed on FATF ‘Grey List’
Pertinent for India, the session will review progress made by Pakistan on aspects that present a risk to the financial system.
India will keep up the pressure on Pakistan to cut finances to terrorist groups, in particular seeking action against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
During the six-day meeting, more than 800 representatives from 205 countries, IMF, United Nations, World Bank and other organizations will focus on global action to follow the money that fuels crime and terrorism.
Pakistan was placed on the ‘grey list’ by the Paris-based watchdog in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the watchdog’s blacklist.
In its October meeting, the FATF had noted that Pakistan had addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups.
The intergovernmental organisation had asked Pakistan to complete its full action plan by February 2020.
Among the important issues to be discussed are:
• Assessments of measures by Korea and the United Arab Emirates to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
• Progress by Iran, Pakistan and other countries that present a risk to the financial system.
• The progress of a FATF initiative to combat financial flows from the illegal wildlife trade.
• Publishing a guidance paper on digital identity.
• Developments in the financing of ISIL, Al-Qaeda and Affiliates.
Don’t Interfere In Our Internal Affairs, India Tells Turkey After Its Views On Kashmir
President Erdogan on Friday once again raked up the Kashmir issue, vowing that Ankara will support Pakistan’s stand.
NEW DELHI: India has criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for raking up the Kashmir issue during his address at the Pakistan Parliament, and asked him to desist from interfering in India’s internal affairs.
In response to queries on references to Jammu and Kashmir by the Turkish President and the Turkey-Pakistan joint declaration, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India “rejects all references to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India.”
“…We call upon the Turkish leadership to not interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop a proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” Kumar said.
In his address at a joint session of Pakistan’s Parliament on Friday, Erdogan compared the “struggle” of Kashmiri people with that of the fight by Turkish people against foreign domination during the World War I.
Kashmiri people have suffered for decades and their sufferings have increased following “unilateral steps taken in recent times”, Erdogan said referring to India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last year.
“We call upon the Turkish leadership to not interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop a proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” Kumar said.
In September last year, President Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue during his address at the United Nations General Assembly. Reacting to his remarks in the UN, India had said it “deeply regrets” the statement of Turkey on the Kashmir issue, and termed it an internal matter.
In August last year, India announced its decision to withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and even downgraded its diplomatic ties with India by expelling the Indian High Commissioner.
Islamabad also unsuccessfully tried to rally international support against India on the issue.
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